Spacey will be arraigned at Nantucket District Court on January 7 on a charge of indecent assault and battery, according to the district attorney of Cape and Islands, Massachusetts.
Prosecutors did not name the alleged victim of the July 2016 incident but former Boston-based television news anchor Heather Unruh told a news conference last year that police were investigating a complaint by her son against the “House of Cards” and “American Beauty” star.
Unruh told reporters the 59-year-old had sexually assaulted her son on the holiday island of Nantucket after plying him with alcohol late at night in a bar in July 2016.
Unruh described her son at the time as a “star-struck, straight” 18-year-old.
“Kevin Spacey bought him drink after drink after drink, and when my son was drunk, Spacey made his move and sexually assaulted him,” Unruh told the news conference in Boston.
“Spacey stuck his hand inside my son’s pants and grabbed his genitals,” Unruh said. Her intoxicated son, whom she did not name, panicked and froze.
When Spacey left briefly to use the bathroom, he allegedly fled to his grandmother’s house, where he is said to have told his sister what had happened.
Spacey was considered one of the finest actors of his generation. His career has nose-dived following allegations of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen men in the United States and Britain.
The first public report of alleged abuse by him came from actor Anthony Rapp, who claimed that Spacey sexually abused him when Rapp was 14, in 1986.
Spacey apologised to Rapp, claiming not to remember the incident, but remained silent as accusations against him mushroomed.
As a result, Netflix dropped Spacey from its political thriller series “House of Cards,” and he was dumped from his scenes in Ridley Scott’s film “All the Money in the World.”
Spacey is one of the most high-profile figures in the torrent of allegations that have brought down male power players from the worlds of politics, finance, entertainment and journalism, in the wake of accusations against movie mogul Harvey Weinstein 14 months ago.
As the arraignment was announced, a bizarre video was shared by Spacey’s Twitter account of the actor apparently addressing his sacking by Netflix — while in character as President Frank Underwood from “House of Cards.”
“Oh sure, they may have tried to separate us, but what we have is too strong, too powerful. After all, we shared everything, you and I,” Spacey says in Underwood’s signature southern drawl, in the video entitled titled, “Let Me Be Frank.”
“I told you my deepest, darkest secrets. I showed you exactly what people are capable of. I shocked you with my honestly, but mostly I challenged you and made you think. And you trusted me, even though you knew you shouldn’t. So we’re not done, no matter what anyone says. And besides, I know what you want. You want me back.”
The three-minute vignette marks Spacey’s first public performance since the allegations against him came to light.
“Of course, some believed everything and have been just waiting with baited breath to hear me confess it all. They’re just dying to have me declare that everything said is true and that I got what I deserved,” he goes on.
“Only you and I both know it’s never that simple, not in politics and not in life,” he says — apparently an allusion to the allegations against both the actor and his Machiavellian character on the show.
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.
County child protection director out amid allegations of failed Child Abuse investigations
RIVERSIDE COUNTY, CA – Riverside County’s top child protection official, Susan von Zabern, left her job Monday as the county fights two civil cases alleging that severe child abuse continued after the department had finished their investigations.
“….these disturbing cases indicate department leadership is failing to effectively stop child abuse.”
The two civil cases were filed by attorney Roger Booth on behalf of the juvenile victims seeking damages for the trauma they suffered as a result of the botched investigations.
“Child protective services is supposed to be there for kids whose parents can’t and won’t protect them.” Booth said.
In one case, filed in November 2017, a thirteen-year-old girl suffered repeated sexual abuse, rape, and eventually was impregnated by her mother’s live-in boyfriend. In another, filed in March, a three-year-old suffered severe neglect and was found in a filthy home hugging her dead infant sibling.
The complaints in both cases show staff from the Riverside County Children’s Services Division of the Department of Public Social Services repeatedly visited the homes of the victims, but failed to stop the abuse, and closed the investigations prematurely.
The County Board of Supervisors held closed-door meetings in recent months regarding the allegations, and said they will fight the cases, the Press-Enterprise reported.
Ray Smith, a spokesperson for the county, said that von Zabern “separated” from the county on Monday, but could not provide further comment due to department policies on personnel matters and the open status of the civil cases.
“The county constantly works to improve processes and programs that protect residents who are at-risk,” Smith said. “The county will aggressively continue that work.”
Social services staff knew a juvenile victim suffered repeated sexual abuse by her mother’s boyfriend, according to the lawsuit, but the agency closed the investigation anyway.
The complaint alleges that the department failed to report that the victim’s mother was not capable of protecting her, that the sexual abuse would likely continue, and that they led the victim to believe the department was the only hope for her protection.
At one point the department even asked the suspect to sign a safety plan they drafted, designating him as one of her caregivers, according to the complaint.
About a year later, the victim, 13 at the time, gave birth to a baby and put it up for adoption. Blood tests confirmed that the suspect was the father.
The suspect is facing 22 counts of child sexual abuse and is due in court on Sept. 28.
Another case, filed in March, alleges that a young child was routinely neglected by her mother, who struggled with drug addiction and mental illness.
The mother later became pregnant and reported to the department that she was not receiving prenatal care and had stopped using her medication.
On several occasions, the department visited the home, but ultimately considered the case inconclusive and closed the investigation.
Days after one of the department’s final visits in April 2016, a neighbor flagged down a passing police car and reported a foul smell from the victim’s apartment.
Inside, police found a horrific scene, according to court documents: The three-year-old was laying on a mattress, hugging the decaying corpse of her infant sibling.
Both of the juvenile plaintiffs in the civil cases have been appointed a guardian by the courts.
The cases specifically name 10 staff in the Department of Public Social Services alleging they failed at their duties and violated the Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act.
To Booth, these disturbing cases indicate department leadership is failing to effectively stop child abuse.
“Child protective services is supposed to be there for kids whose parents can’t and won’t protect them.” Booth said. “They just simply failed to do that in these cases.”
The cases seek compensation for the victims and for punitive damages against specific staff named in the complaint.
“What these kids went through is horrific,” Booth said. “They’re entitled to compensation commensurate with the harm that was done to them.”
While STDs can impact anyone, the new report underscores how disparities are deepening for the hardest-hit and most vulnerable groups:
Youth aged 15-24 continue to make up most reported chlamydia and gonorrhea infections, and are now experiencing syphilis increases.
Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to face the highest rates of syphilis and HIV co-infection. Data from the STD Surveillance Network (SSuN) also suggest gonorrhea rates have increased among MSM for five years.
Pregnant women are experiencing some of the harshest outcomes from untreated STDs with the continued surge of congenital syphilis (CS) – where cases rise to numbers unseen since 1998.
The good news is that we can interrupt the steady climb in STD rates. Doing so means that we must fully commit to doing what works AND to better understanding the changing face of the epidemic, as well as the real-world challenges that can stand in the way of preventing STDs.
Bringing the growing STD burden to a halt requires action by many. For example:
Here at CDC, we’ll continue monitoring national STD trends and for antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea; providing the most up-to-date screening, treatment, and other prevention services guidance; and funding health departments to help support their work to prevent STDs.
Health departments can continue to monitor and analyze their local STD burden; identify and link people with STDs and their partners to treatment and care; and disseminate up-to-date disease trends and clinical preventative resources to healthcare providers.
Providers can take routine sexual histories, as well as test, rapidly diagnose, and treat patients and partners as CDC recommends.
Together, we can make a difference, but it will take all of us – CDC, health departments, healthcare providers, community organizations, and individuals.
Louisiana is working to be that difference. Their health officials are confronting, head on, some of the highest STD rates in the country.
By tackling their burden on multiple fronts, Louisiana is gaining ground in spite of an uphill battle. For example, with syphilis, they’ve increased testing and reduced time to treatment in public health clinics.
In 2016, the number of CS cases decreased for the first time in five years. With expanded extragenital gonorrhea and chlamydia testing, they also diagnosed 165 cases that would have otherwise been missed.
These budding achievements are a strong reminder to us all that good prevention remains in reach. Reversing our growing STD burden will take a lot of work, and it won’t happen overnight, but it is worth it.
At the end of the day, STD prevention is about more than stopping a single disease, it’s about safeguarding our quality of life. I know it. You know it. Let’s make sure that other people know it, too.
Here are some resources especially for you, as well as prevention materials you can share in your community:
Damian Merrick was facing two charges of child sexual assault after he was accused of raping two girls, but he was only found guilty on one count. He was also found guilty providing marijuana to the teen girls.
Jurors spent most of the day on Friday deliberating before reaching a guilty verdict.
Prosecutors argued that Merrick used alcohol and drugs to lure the teens during a team trip to Colorado.
Defense attorneys argued before the jury that Merrick had lost everything but his freedom. During closing arguments, the defense told the jury the state had left too much reasonable doubt. They pointed to inconsistent stories by two girls who testified Merrick sexually assaulted them when they were 16 and played on his volleyball team.
The jury deliberated for nearly 7 hours before reaching their verdict.
During closing arguments, attorneys from both sides made their points with the jury.
A Grapevine police detective testified Merrick had a sexual relationship with one of those girls for three months and raped a second girl in the bathroom at her friend’s house.
Merrick’s daughter tried to defend him. She spoke on his behalf and said he never gave her drugs or alcohol, but she broke down crying after prosecutors poked holes in her testimony.
The judge began testimony of the punishment phase of the trial Friday afternoon.