Category Archives: Bullying

Hazing Or Rite Of Passage? I Don’t Think So

.jpg photo of town where high school players are accused of sexual assaault
Four 15-year-old Maryland high school football players charged as adults with rape for sexually assaulting four teammates with a broom during a hazing incident.

Maryland high school football players
accused of sexually assaulting
teammates with broom

DAMASCAS, MD  –  Four 15-year-old Maryland high school football players charged as adults with rape for sexually assaulting four teammates with a broom during a hazing incident have been released on bond.

The Damascus High School athletes, whom NBC News is not identifying, were each charged with one count of first-degree rape, three counts of attempted rape and one count of conspiracy to commit rape, Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said.

Each of the students was released Tuesday on $20,000 bond, according to court records.  They are not allowed on the premises of Damascus High School, and they are not allowed to contact one another, McCarthy said.

A fifth teammate is accused of participating in at least one of the attacks and being charged as a juvenile but is also identified as one of four victims, charging documents show.

One of the alleged victims told police that the suspects held him down, pulled his pants down and poked his buttocks with a broomstick before “the broomstick was inserted into his anus a few inches,” prosecutors said.

Two of the victims said they were violently attacked, but were able to fight off the assailants before they “got the broom,” prosecutors said.

Another victim said a broomstick, which he described as a wooden handle with a “cut on the tip of it” said he was “stabbed” on the buttocks with the broomstick. When that victim tried to fight the attack, the suspects told him it was “tradition,” he told police.

When interviewed by investigators, one of the suspects said the broom “started from generations ago,” according to prosecutors, who said freshmen were the ones targeted.

Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said citing tradition is not a defense.

“I’m offended by the term hazing.  It’s not hazing, these are crimes, and I would caution anyone to refer to this as hazing.  These boys were victims of criminal acts,” McCarthy said.  “They were not victims of hazing, they were victims of first-degree rapes.”

The alleged rapes and attempted rapes happened on Oct. 31, according to the court documents.  Damascus High School’s principal reported the possible assaults to police on Nov. 1.

Montgomery County Public School District Superintendent Jack Smith said in a statement that the district is cooperating with police and providing support for Damascus High School students.

“Our thoughts are with the students, staff and all who have been affected,” Smith said.

Don’t Do This, You Gave NIMW It’s Start

.jpg photo of graphic of Google+ announcement of closing
Google announced that it will shut down the consumer version of Google+ following the discovery of a bug that it opted to keep secret.

Google+ to shut down following bug that
exposed 500K profiles

Google yesterday announced that it will shut down the consumer version of Google+ following the discovery of a bug that it opted to keep secret.

In a blog post, the search giant framed the decision as one that makes sense given that very few people actively use Google+—”90 percent of Google+ user sessions are less than five seconds,” writes Ben Smith, a Google Fellow and VP of Engineering—and it doesn’t warrant the work required to keep tabs on developers.

But as the Wall Street Journal reports, the move comes after Google discovered a bug that left private user information open to developers in March, but declined to alert users for fear of regulatory scrutiny.

“A memo reviewed by the Journal prepared by Google’s legal and policy staff and shared with senior executives warned that disclosing the incident would likely trigger ‘immediate regulatory interest’ and invite comparisons to Facebook’s leak of user information to data firm Cambridge Analytica,” the Journal says.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly knew about the plan to forego notification.

In the blog post, Smith says Google discovered the bug in March as part of Project Strobe—”a root-and-branch review of third-party developer access to Google account and Android device data and of our philosophy around apps’ data access.”

The bug, according to Google, meant that third-party apps had access to “profile fields that were shared with the user, but not marked as public,” like name, email address, occupation, gender, and age. Google+ posts, messages, Google account data, phone numbers, or G Suite content were not accessible.

“We found no evidence that any developer was aware of this bug, or abusing the API, and we found no evidence that any Profile data was misused,” Smith says.

The bug, which Google patched in March, affected about 500,000 Google+ users. Was yours one of those accounts?  Sorry, there’s no way to tell.

“We made Google+ with privacy in mind and therefore keep this API’s log data for only two weeks,” according to Smith.  “That means we cannot confirm which users were impacted by this bug.”

According to Smith, the vulnerability didn’t rise to the level of requiring a notification.  “Every year, we send millions of notifications to users about privacy and security bugs and issues.  Whenever user data may have been affected, we go beyond our legal requirements and apply several criteria focused on our users in determining whether to provide notice,” he says.

It remains to be seen if regulators agree.  Uber kept a 2016 data breach secret, and that just resulted in a $148 million fine.

The Google+ shutdown, meanwhile, will occur over the next 10 months, so get your fill before August 2019.  If you use the service for work, though, Google+ is not going anywhere.

“Our review showed that Google+ is better suited as an enterprise product where co-workers can engage in internal discussions on a secure corporate social network,” Smith says.  “Enterprise customers can set common access rules, and use central controls, for their entire organization.  We’ve decided to focus on our enterprise efforts and will be launching new features purpose-built for businesses.  We will share more information in the coming days.”

As part of the announcement, Google also promised to give users “more fine-grained control over what account data they choose to share with each app.”  If an app wants access to a Calendar and Drive documents, for example, you can opt to share one but not the other.

Google will also “limit the apps that may seek permission to access your consumer Gmail data,” while Google Play will limit which apps that can ask for a user’s phone (including call logs) and SMS data.

Remember Bullying Programs Were Unsuccessful

Texas school shooter’s father suspects Bullying caused him to snap

When Bullying school programs began, I made the statement that these would never be successful, because they all addressed Child on Child Bullying only.  In all my years experience, serious Bullying always involved at least one adult, and most times, it involved multiple adults, with at least one or more being teachers or coaches.
Robert StrongBow

A 17-year-old student accused of fatally shooting 10 people at a Texas high school should be seen as a “victim” because he may have recently been bullied, causing him to lash out, his father said.

In a phone interview over the weekend with Greece’s Antenna TV, Antonios Pagourtzis said he wished he could have stopped the killing Friday at Santa Fe High School.  His voice cracked as he described how he told police to let him inside the school so his son, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, could kill him instead.  He said he suspects his son was under pressure, perhaps due to bullying.

“Something must have happened now, this last week,” he told the station.  “Somebody probably came and hurt him, and since he was a solid boy, I don’t know what could have happened.  I can’t say what happened.  All I can say is what I suspect as a father.”

The suspect’s attorney, Nicholas Poehl, has said he is investigating whether his client endured any “teacher-on-student” bullying after reading reports of the teen being mistreated by football coaches.  The school district issued a statement saying it investigated the accusations and “confirmed that these reports were untrue.”

The elder Pagourtzis said his son took a legally owned shotgun and handgun from his closet before leaving for school that day.  The teen didn’t own firearms of his own, he said.

“My son, to me, is not a criminal, he’s a victim,” he said.  “The kid didn’t own guns, I owned guns.”

Dimitrios Pagourtzis is being held in the Galveston County jail on capital murder charges. Authorities say eight students and two teachers were killed in the attack, and 13 others wounded.

Antonios Pagourtzis said his son never displayed any signs that he would be capable of such violence, explaining that he didn’t fight with others, didn’t drink alcohol and seemed to enjoy healthy pursuits such as working out.

“He pulled the trigger but he is not this person,” he said.  “It is like we see in the movies when someone gets into his body and does things that are not done.  It’s not possible in one day for the child to have changed so much.”

He said that after the teen had been taken into custody, he and his wife were allowed to visit him for 15-20 minutes.

“I saw the child.  I didn’t see a child who is a murderer.  A pure child, a child who was ashamed to look me in the face,” his father said.  “He was thinking of his sisters, how his sisters will be able to get about.  He said he loves me, he told his mother he loves her and he will try to be strong to help us cope.”

He said his son had told him he had acted on his own, and had spared “the kids who were the good kids so they can tell his story.”

Human Trafficking Awareness

.jpg photo of National Human Trafficking Hotline graphic
HELP IS AVAILABLE!

Latest trends in U.S. Child Sex Trafficking

Today we are excited to share our newest research.  Survivors have graciously allowed us to hear their stories, and in order for us all to be a part of the solution, we’re excited to share their stories with you.

Explore the Findings

Participants’ age of entry into the life

  • Youngest age of entry was less than 1-year-old
  • One in six were under the age of 12
  • Most frequently reported age is 15

Two themes in U.S. child sex trafficking emerged from this report:

  1. Technology is playing an increasing role in grooming and controlling victims of child sex trafficking.  75% of victims who entered the life in the past decade were advertised online.
  2. Less familiar forms of child trafficking, including those trafficked by family members or without a clear trafficker, are emerging.  80% of all victims under 10 were trafficked by a family member.

Without survivor input, our anti-trafficking movement risks wasting time and resources — and most importantly, endangering children.  We are truly grateful to all of the organizations and survivors that shared their stories and made this work possible.

Today is #HumanTraffickingAwarenessDay, and our research also showed that 2 out of 3 survivors never saw a help resource during their abuse.  You can change that by sharing the Human Trafficking hotline today everywhere you have a community on social media.

Spread The Word

“Survivor insights keep us grounded in the reality and complexity of their experience so that the best interventions can be developed to defend children from sexual abuse.”
Brooke Istook, Director of Strategy & Operations

Where Were You

.jpg photo of the American Flag and a Bald Eagle
America The Beautiful

September 11, 2001

I will never forget….

We were working at Raytheon, of all places, and the week had started well.  But then every day started well, but none had ever ended the way that day did….

Although a year and a half before when I sat with my Niece and Mother at that 15+foot conference table filled with medical professionals, and they continued to counsel me with their understanding looks and consoling words, and even asking permission to go to a first name basis, as they continued to return to their “evidence” that my Son was no longer alive.  I should let these important people go to help others, that were living human beings.

That day, like this day, I realized those “Medical Professionals” were not the “Good Guys”, wearing white hats, and certainly not Friends of The Lone Ranger, just like these evil humans that did this evil thing to Our Friends and Neighbors.  Which in turn, cost us more than even that, so many of Our Protectors that would never walk in their door after work….

What is wrong with people.

How can anyone delight in seeing, much less hurting someone.

The day was Tuesday, and it was a great day.  At least until the guards were suddenly there, with LOADED M-16s no less….

After a while they brought us a television, and our day went to hell in a handbasket, as we watched Our America The Beautiful as she was attacked.

Later, they asked if we would like to go home to be with Our Families, and everyone of us had seen that these guys who were Our Friends never looked away from that television, just like us, except to cover when tears would begin to fall as rain.  So, it was easy to say “ah we might be able to get a little work in later”, which startled them for only a second, and then we cried together.

But I do know one thing for sure, because we all said it that day:

“I BLEED RED, WHITE, AND BLUE!!!!”