Disney actor Stoney Westmoreland
charged in underage sex case
SALT LAKE CITY – Former Disney Channel actor Stoney Westmoreland has been charged with six felony counts after authorities said he tried to have sex with a 13-year-old boy.
Prosecutors say the 48-year-old Westmoreland was on the dating app Grindr when he found a profile that appeared to be an underage boy but was operated by a police detective in Salt Lake City, near where the show “Andi Mack” is filmed.
He also sent explicit photos, authorities said.
A message left with Westmoreland’s agent, Mitchell Stubbs, was not immediately returned.
Charging documents say Westmoreland was arrested Dec. 13 after he took a car to meet the boy so they could go back to his hotel room.
Charges filed Friday include attempted exploitation of a minor and enticing a minor.
Westmoreland has been dropped from his role as the grandfather of the teenage title character in the Disney show after his arrest.
Westmoreland’s other acting credits include “Scandal” and “Breaking Bad.”
Federal Judge Rules State Must Pay for
Inmate’s Gender Surgery
A federal judge in Idaho has ruled that the state must pay for the gender reassignment surgery of a man who has been living as a woman.
The Thursday ruling involved the case of Adree Edmo, a 31-year-old transgender inmate in Pocatello who is currently in a men’s prison. Edmo was sentenced for sexual abuse of a child under 16 back in 2012, according to the Idaho State Journal, and will be in prison until 2021.
There is no such thing as transgender, it is GENDER DYSPHORIA! Every person in America has guaranteed rights except Children, this is against the laws of this land!!!! Robert StrongBow
Edmo’s suit contends that “she lived full-time as a woman, dressing in women’s clothes and wearing women’s cosmetics” before serving time in jail.
Edmo was diagnosed with gender dysphoria by a prison psychiatrist in June of 2012, just months after sentencing. Gender reassignment surgery is one potential treatment for the condition.
“Many transgender individuals are comfortable living with their gender role, expression and identity without surgery,” U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill wrote in the Thursday ruling. “For others, however, gender confirmation surgery … is the only effective treatment.”
“The state has six months to provide Edmo with the surgery, which will restructure her physical characteristics to match her gender identity,” the Associated Press reported.
“Idaho Department of Correction spokesman Jeff Ray said IDOC will be addressing some of the issues raised by the ruling — including whether the state will appeal, and where Edmo will be housed after her surgery — in the days to come. There are currently 30 inmates with gender dysphoria in state custody, according to the ruling.”
Edmo, it’s worth noting, has already received some taxpayer-funded treatment for gender dysphoria. That includes hormone therapy. However, they also have a disturbing history of attempting a crude sort of self-surgery.
“Edmo testified that she feels depressed, embarrassed and disgusted by her male genitalia. Her gender dysmorphia was so severe that in 2015 she tried to remove her testicles using a disposable razor blade,” the AP reported.
“She was unsuccessful at that time, though she continued to be troubled by thoughts of self-castration. In December 2016 she made another attempt, studying anatomy, boiling her razor blade in an attempt to make it sterile and managing to remove one of her testicles before she began to lose too much blood and called for help.”
In Judge Windmill’s ruling, he contended that the denying Edmo gender reassignment surgery was unconstitutional.
“For more than forty years, the Supreme Court has consistently held that consciously ignoring an prisoner’s serious medical needs amounts to cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment,” the ruling read.
“I think the thing that makes this case so important is that this is a procedure that is necessary for some transgender inmates, and in fact is lifesaving care, but it’s almost universally denied and banned by prisons across the country,” said Amy Whelan, an attorney with the group that represented Edmo, the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “There is no state that I’m aware of that has ever provided the surgery without being ordered by a court to do so.”
There are two reasons why this line of thought is pretty much bunk, however: the surgery remains elective and there’s no actual evidence that it’s effective.
The first part is pretty straightforward. Adree Edmo will survive whether or not the surgery is performed. Given their past, one would hope prison officials might take more care in not allowing razors anywhere near Edmo’s cell, but there’s no risk of death if the surgery isn’t performed. When you consider the fact that surgeries like this can cost tens of thousands of dollars and there are 30 inmates with gender dysphoria in the Idaho system alone, you quickly begin to grasp the burden this would be on taxpayers for what amounts to an elective surgery.
And then there’s the efficacy of the surgery, which has always been in debate. There are plenty of studies on this, but I’d like to reference two: one by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in 2016 and one by the U.K. Guardian in 2004.
I reference these specifically because neither could be categorized by the left as bastions of retrograde conservatism. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services conducted the study under the Obama administration, which was almost uniformly friendly to any dubious excess of political correctness when it fit under the aegis of transgender rights. The Guardian, meanwhile, has long been the paper of record if you want to know what British progressives who aren’t thinking for themselves are thinking.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services study was issued in response to a request that gender reassignment be covered under Medicare. They declined based on a paucity of evidence for the efficacy of the procedures.
“Based on a thorough review of the clinical evidence available at this time, there is not enough evidence to determine whether gender reassignment surgery improves health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with gender dysphoria,” the Centers concluded, according to the Heritage Foundation.
“There were conflicting (inconsistent) study results—of the best designed studies, some reported benefits while others reported harms. The quality and strength of evidence were low due to the mostly observational study designs with no comparison groups, potential confounding, and small sample sizes. Many studies that reported positive outcomes were exploratory type studies (case-series and case-control) with no confirmatory follow-up.”
Meanwhile, the Guardian discovered what opponents of the surgery have long claimed; they found “no conclusive evidence that sex change operations improve the lives of transsexuals, with many people remaining severely distressed and even suicidal after the operation.”
“There is a huge uncertainty over whether changing someone’s sex is a good or a bad thing,” Chris Hyde, the director of the University of Birmingham’s aggressive research intelligence facility, told the Guardian. “While no doubt great care is taken to ensure that appropriate patients undergo gender reassignment, there’s still a large number of people who have the surgery but remain traumatized — often to the point of committing suicide.”
That, indeed, remains the problem. Of the studies out there, one demonstrated a higher mortality rate for those who underwent sexual reassignment therapy, including a higher rate of attempted suicides. Another found that “(t)he evidence concerning gender reassignment surgery in both (male-to-female) and (female-to-male) transsexism has several limitations in terms of: (a) lack of controlled studies, (b) evidence has not collected data prospectively, (c) high loss to follow up and (d) lack of validated assessment measures.”
In short, at best we can say that we don’t know how efficacious these procedures are. At worst, there’s evidence that they cause injury to the individual involved, both physically and mentally.
This is what a judge wants the state of Idaho — which means the taxpayers of Idaho — to fund: a surgery where the effectiveness isn’t demonstrated on a prisoner with clear mental instability issues. One should certainly have the choice, in a free society, to pursue elective surgical options for conditions even if the benefit hasn’t necessarily been demonstrated.
However, one also ought not to have a claim to pursue it using someone else’s money — particularly if the reason they’re getting that money is because they’re behind bars. This is an absurd decision which desperately needs to be appealed.
Former police chief in PA to serve 9-23 months in prison after guilty plea
related to undercover child sex sting
HARRISBURG, PA – A former police chief in Armstrong County will serve between nine and 23 months in prison and three years probation for soliciting sexual acts from an undercover agent posing as a 14-year-old girl online in January, Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Wednesday.
Michael Diebold, 41, pleaded guilty to two counts of statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor and criminal use of a communication facility, court documents show.
Diebold, who served as Leechburg’s police chief, sent inappropriate pictures to the individual he thought to be a teenage girl on multiple occasions.
He then made plans to meet up with the girl, and upon arrival at the designated location in Westmoreland County, Diebold was apprehended.
“This case is particularly heinous because the perpetrator is a public official, sworn to serve and protect the community,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “We have a zero tolerance policy for the sexual abuse of children and my office will prosecute any offender to the fullest extent of the law, no matter who they are.”
Feds threaten to yank funding of
Uptown psychiatric hospital following
Child Abuse complaints
CHICAGO, IL – Federal authorities are once again threatening to cut off funding for an embattled Uptown psychiatric hospital beset by complaints of physical and sexual abuse of young patients, including foster children in state care.
Chicago Lakeshore Hospital officials said Friday they are “working to come into compliance with regulations” before a Dec. 15 federal deadline. With more than 80 percent of its patients receiving Medicare or Medicaid benefits, hospital officials said the facility may shutter, reducing access to mental health services. Layoffs began within the last few days, officials said.
Also Friday, a federal judge tapped experts at a Chicago university to do an independent review of the safety of children at the hospital, and Illinois health officials said they may pull the psychiatric facility’s state license.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services stopped admitting children in its care to the hospital one month ago amid an increased number of hotline calls alleging harmful conditions. DCFS also began transferring foster children out of the hospital and stationing staff inside the facility 24 hours a day to better monitor its remaining patients.
Those steps were taken under pressure from child welfare watchdog groups and state lawmakers after separate reports about the hospital’s recent problems by the Chicago Tribune and ProPublica Illinois.
The final foster child left the hospital Friday afternoon, said DCFS spokesman Neil Skene. He said all are in foster homes or residential treatment facilities with support services. While transferring children, two 17-year-old boys ran away in separate incidents, but both have been located, Skene said.
The hospital pledged to work with state and federal agencies to fix the problems. It’s unclear, though, what inroads Chicago Lakeshore can make before a deadline that’s just two weeks away. After another threat a few months ago to cut off government funding, the hospital asked a federal judge to intervene, then withdrew its request when regulators agreed to give the hospital more time.
On Friday, Lakeshore officials would only say that “options are being explored.”
“Many of the children we serve have no place else to go, and we offer the best hope for their stabilization and return to society,” Dr. Peter Nierman, the hospital’s chief medical officer, said in a statement. “Frankly, this is a population that virtually no other facility wants to take, and I believe that without Lakeshore, the already tragic story of some of these children will only be further exacerbated.”
DCFS launched at least its 20th hotline investigation last week. The latest complaint accused hospital staff of inadequate supervision regarding sexual activity between teenage patients. It was the fourth hotline call in recent weeks, including a Nov. 19 complaint involving a 9-year-old patient who accused a staff member of choking her while trying to restrain the child.
The hospital had only about 17 total hotline investigations in the prior three years, according to DCFS statistics. Most of this year’s hotline investigations were sparked when hospital staff, who are required to report under state law, notified child welfare officials of the allegation.
The Illinois Department of Public Health, which licenses the hospital, had been inspecting Chicago Lakeshore in recent months mostly for regulatory safety issues, such as whether adequate suicide-prevention measures were in place regarding the length of telephone cords or the doors to empty rooms were properly secured. The state health department contracts with the federal government, which is in charge of Medicaid and Medicare funding.
On Friday, state public health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said recent media reports led the agency to also investigate complaints alleging young patients were physically or sexually abused. Inspectors found the hospital staff failed to notify state health officials about the complaints as required, and that the facility often failed to take corrective action or launch sufficient investigations, according to the reports.
State health officials recommended termination of federal funding and are “looking at license suspension or revocation,” Arnold said.
On the federal front, the hospital was informed of the Dec. 15 deadline to cut off funding in a certified letter dated Thursday.
“We have determined that the deficiencies are so serious they constitute an immediate threat to patient health and safety,” wrote Nadine Renbarger, an associate regional administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. “The deficiencies limit the capacity of your facility to render adequate care and ensure the health and safety of your patients.”
In recent weeks, DCFS repeatedly has been hauled into federal court as it battles with the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois over concerns about the psychiatric facility. The ACLU, which monitors DCFS through a decades-old federal consent decree, called for an outside review of the hospital.
During a court hearing Friday, U.S. District Judge Jorge Alonso approved the University of Illinois at Chicago psychiatry department to oversee the review, which the hospital said it welcomed.
Chicago Lakeshore Hospital knows improvements can be made and we will continue to steadfastly make those improvements, but shutting us down is tantamount to throwing out the baby with the bathwater,” hospital CEO David Fletcher-Janzen said in a statement.
Alonso also ruled that a retired federal judge will be appointed with decision-making authority to help DCFS and the ACLU iron out its frequent disputes in the consent decree case. DCFS unsuccessfully opposed the ACLU’s request for a so-called “special master,” instead favoring a facilitator without as much authority.
Chicago Lakeshore is one of the largest hospitals for psychiatric services in Illinois. An estimated one-quarter of DCFS kids who need inpatient psychiatric services are treated there, and many languish beyond their scheduled discharge date as the state agency struggles to find homes with appropriate services.
If the hospital closes, DCFS officials said the larger challenge is not just the dwindling number of psychiatric beds but the need for “a more robust mental health system to provide more treatment to more people in their own communities, without hospitalization.”
“The capacity of the mental health system is not just a DCFS challenge but a challenge for the state of Illinois,” DCFS Acting Director Beverly “B.J.” Walker said in a statement. “We need to put more attention on ways to reduce the need for psychiatric hospitalization.”
OMAHA, NE – A Macy, Nebraska, husband and wife have pleaded not guilty to locking a 10-year-old foster son in a basement storage room.
Krista Parker entered her plea Monday in U.S. District Court in Omaha to federal and state charges of kidnapping, child abuse/neglect and false imprisonment. Charles Parker pleaded not guilty to the same charges Thursday.
Trial dates have not been set.
According to court documents, authorities on Sept. 15 were called to the Parker home about a report of a boy locked in a storage room.
Officers found the boy locked in the dark, windowless room, amid trash, a few toys and human feces. The room stunk of urine and feces, court documents said.
Krista Parker was found passed out upstairs, and a preliminary breath test showed her blood-alcohol content at 0.126 percent.
Parker confessed to locking the boy in the room a few hours earlier, court documents said, but denied confining the special-needs boy, who had been in her foster care for nine months, in the room previously.
Charles Parker told officers he was unaware that his wife had confined their son in the room that night, but he said that they occasionally locked the boy in the room for several hours and maybe for a night one time, court documents said.
The boy told a forensic interviewer that the storage room was his bedroom and that he slept on the floor because he did not have a bed.