Tag Archives: Child Sexual Abuse

80 Percent Of The Time

.jpg photo of man accused of abusing two children
Jacob John Weld, 29, of Petoskey

Petoskey man facing sexual assault,
Child Abuse charges

PETOSKEY, MI  –  A Petoskey area man is facing multiple felony charges in connection with allegations that he sexually and physically abused two young children, respectively.

Jacob John Weld, 29, of Petoskey was arrested last week on two counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.  The charge is a felony which carries a maximum penalty of up to life in prison and a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison.  He was arrested on the afternoon of Oct. 10 on the charge.

At the time of his arrest on the sexual assault charges he was out of jail on bond following an Oct. 1 arrest on a charge of third-degree child abuse.  That charge is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison.

According to a Michigan State Police affidavit of probable cause filed in the case, the sexual assault charges stem from allegations that Weld sexually assaulted a young child at a home in Emmet County on at least two occasions in August and September of this year.  Police said the child came forward with the allegation on Oct. 8.  Police further said in the affidavit that when they interviewed Weld, he admitted to the actions with the child leading to the sexual assault charges.

In the child abuse case, Weld is accused of causing injury to a different young child.

In that case, Emmet County Sheriff’s Office deputies said in an affidavit of probable cause that the case was initially referred to police from a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services representative who was investigating a child abuse complaint. In the affidavit, police said the alleged abuse happened on or around Sept. 23. Police said an adult noticed bruising on the back of the child’s leg on Sept. 29. Police said the child reported having been spanked with a belt by Weld.
Police said when they interviewed Weld he said he “probably used a belt to spank (the child).”

Weld was originally released from jail on Oct. 1 after posting a $50,000 surety bond. But he now remains lodged in the Emmet County Jail in connection with the sexual assault case, for which a new bond has been set at $2 million.

Weld is slated to face preliminary examinations in both cases on Oct. 24 in 90th District Court.

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.

IN Mother Draws 20 Years

.jpg photo of man convicted of child sexual abuse
Nicholas Deon Thrash, 34, was sentenced to over 100 years in prison after being found guilty of molesting a 10-year-old girl multiple times. (Grant County Jail)

Convicted molester’s girlfriend admits
letting him assault daughter, 10,
resulting in pregnancy

INDIANAPOLIS, IN  –  Indiana woman on Tuesday admitted to charges that she allowed her boyfriend to molest her daughter, leading to the then 10-year-old’s pregnancy.

The 33-year-old woman, of Marion, pleaded guilty to charges of neglect, aiding child molesting and assisting a criminal.  She avoided a trial by accepting a sentence of 20 years in prison and five years of probation.

“We were certainly ready to go to trial in a few weeks, but the emotional and psychological toll would have been significantly more (for this trial) than the Thrash trial,” Deputy Grant County Prosecutor Lisa Glancy said.

The woman’s boyfriend, 34-year-old Nicholas Deon Thrash, was convicted of 10 counts of child molesting and sentenced last week to 160 years in prison.  The victim, who was not named, testified Thrash had molested her at least 15 times.

The mother admitted her daughter told her Thrash was molesting her, yet she continued to live with him, the Chronicle-Tribune of Marion, Ind., reported.  She reportedly instructed the daughter to say a classmate impregnated her.

Neither the molestation nor pregnancy was reported to police.

Part of the woman’s plea required that she have no contact with her now 12-year-old daughter until a counselor gives permission.  The Associated Press did not name the woman to protect the identity of the girl.

Prosecutors told FOX59 Indianapolis that the girl, after turning 11, gave birth to a boy in September 2017.  The baby was given up for adoption, while the girl now resides in foster care.

“She’s doing better.  That’s all that we can hope for right now.  She’s at a really good place,” Glancy said.

CA Civil Cases Name 10 CPS Employees

.jpg photo of a California CPS office
“What these kids went through is horrific,” Booth said.

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.”

MD Teacher Charged With Child Abuse, Sexual Assault

.jpg photo of MD teacher arrested for child abuse and sex abuse
Scott Thomas McCruden, 31, was charged with child abuse and sexual assault Tuesday.

Baltimore County substitute teacher
arrested on Child Sex Abuse charges

Baltimore, MD  –  Baltimore County police charged a substitute teacher with child abuse and sexual assault Tuesday morning.

Police say Scott Thomas McCruden, 31, of Essex had “inappropriate physical and sexual contact” with a 9-year-old girl he was babysitting and tutoring.  He was arrested and charged with sex abuse of a minor, third-degree sex offense, fourth-degree sexual contact, and second-degree child abuse of a child in his custody.

Police investigators concluded that he had “inappropriate physical and sexual contact” ranging from “disciplinary” pinching to inappropriate touching and pinching of the girl’s buttocks.

McCruden was employed by Baltimore County Public Schools as a substitute teacher between September 2017 and June 2018, working mainly in schools in eastern Baltimore County.  Police and Baltimore County school officials said they do not believe he behaved inappropriately with children while working as a substitute teacher on school property, but are asking parents to speak with their children and notify police if they learn of inappropriate behavior.

McCruden began babysitting and tutoring a 9-year-old girl in September 2017, police said.  Her parents ended his employment this past May when their child began to show signs of anxiety and distress at times when he was scheduled to babysit, police said.

McCruden is no longer employed by Baltimore County Public Schools, police said. He was being held at the Baltimore County Detention Center awaiting a bail review hearing.

He did not have an attorney listed in online court records.