Tag Archives: Cronyism

Malicious Prosecution Alleged in West Virginia

Courthouse News Service
Thursday, February 12, 2015

(CN) – The disgraced former prosecutor for Mingo County, West Virginia pressed bogus child abuse charges against a special education teacher so his wife could get her job, the aggrieved educator claims in court.

The prosecutor in question, C. Michael Sparks, is currently in prison having pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to cover up evidence of illegal drug use and other misconduct by a now deceased former county sheriff.

In a complaint filed in the Charleston, West Va., Federal Court, Tina Grace says she was called into a meeting with the Mingo County superintendent of schools on Sept. 23, 2011, and confronted with allegations that she had been abusing special needs students.

Afterwards, and as required by law, the superintendent called the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, and reported the alleged abuse, thereby initiating an investigation of the matter by the state.

Grace was then suspended, with pay, for the duration of the inquiry, the complaint says.

As described in the court documents, two people providing the most negative information about Grace to investigators — C. Michael Sparks and his wife, Jennifer Sparks — who are alleged to have said she routinely bullied and belittled children in her care.

“Defendant Sparks’ wife … was the only teacher to provide critical comments about Tina Grace saying she had twisted a child’s cheeks, was not nice to kids, mentioning aides had complained about her disciplinary methods and also discussing those same incidents of some two years earlier involving a balancing device known as the ‘turtle’ and the use of hot sauce for disciplining an unruly child,” the complaint says.

Grace says Sparks’ motive was clear – she had two children in the school in which both she and Grace worked, but she also had the least seniority of any special education teacher there, meaning an impending consolidation of schools would likely result in her losing her job.

In addition, Grace says, she and Jennifer Sparks “had engaged in several verbal disagreements in recent years over various matters, including one where Mrs. Grace had replied something to the effect her coal miner husband was smarter than Sparks’ lawyer spouse.”

Grace says the only other people testifying against her were a personal friend of the Sparks, and a teacher’s aide whose husband worked at the county courthouse.

The state investigation turned up no specific findings of abuse, the complaint says. Nevertheless, about 10 days after the investigation ended, the district fired Grace. Days after that, she was indicted on a single county of battery, and two counts of child abuse.

“Defendant Sparks presented these matters to the grand jury initiating Tina Grace’s indictments,” the complaint says.

Grace pleaded not guilty to the charges, and she says what transpired from then on was nothing short of a sham trial. For instance, she says, “In a lame attempt to [cover up] his inherent conflict of interest in prosecuting Tina Grace, Defendant Sparks did not list his wife as a witness … although she had been the only teacher in the entire Mingo County school system to provide evidence concerning Mrs. Grace.”

Grace ultimately agreed to a deal in which she would drop an ongoing appeal of her dismissal from the school district in return for Sparks’ dropping the charges against her. Sixty days later, Circuit Court Judge Michael Thornsbury expunged the record of the case. Thornsbury was later sentenced to 50 months in prison for his involvement in the scheme for which Sparks is now jailed.

Grace then filed an ethics complaint against Sparks with the West Virginia Disciplinary Counsel, which ultimately close the matter due to the fact Sparks’ license had already been annulled due to his other legal problems.

Grace has since filed to rescind the withdrawal of her grievance challenging her termination from the Mingo County Schools.

She seeks $1 million in compensatory damages, lost back wages and future wages on claims Sparks and his co-defendants derived her of her civil rights under state law, that the defendants engaged in a conspiracy to effect malicious prosecution, false arrest, and multiple counts of negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Will the U.S. Government Stand Alone in Rejecting Children’s Rights?

Sun Feb 08, 2015 at 05:56 PM PS
by Lawrence S Wittner
http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Lawrence%20S%20Wittner

Within a matter of months, the U.S. government seems likely to become the only nation in the world still rejecting the 1989 UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Sometimes called “the most ratified human rights treaty in history,” the Convention has been ratified by 195 nations, leaving the United States and South Sudan as the only holdouts. South Sudan is expected to move forward with ratification later this year. But there is no indication that the United States will approve this children’s defense treaty.

In the words of Human Rights Watch, the Convention establishes “global standards to ensure the protection, survival, and development of all children, without discrimination. Countries that ratify the treaty pledge to protect children from economic and sexual exploitation, violence, and other forms of abuse, and to advance the rights of children to education, health care, and a decent standard of living.”

It is hard to imagine why the U.S. government, which often lectures other countries about their human rights violations, should object to these humane standards for the protection of children. The administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush played an important role in drafting the treaty, which was signed by the U.S. government in 1995. Although the U.S. Senate has never ratified (or even considered ratifying) the pact, U.S. ratification is endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Association of University Women, the American Baptist Churches, the American Bar Association, the Catholic Health Association of the United States, the Child Welfare League of America, Church Women United, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, Kiwanis, the National Education Association, the United Food & Commercial Workers, the United Methodist Church, and about a hundred other organizations.

What, then, is the problem? The problem is that treaty ratification requires support from two-thirds of the U.S. Senate―a level of support that has been lacking thanks to Republican Party opposition and, especially, the fierce hostility of the conservative Republican base, including groups like the Christian Coalition, the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, and the John Birch Society.

A key allegation of conservatives is that the Convention “poses a serious threat to parental rights.” In fact, though, as Human Rights Watch observes, the treaty “refers repeatedly to the rights and responsibilities of parents to raise and provide guidance for their children.” Indeed, 19 articles of the treaty explicitly recognize the importance of parents and family in children’s lives.

In addition, conservatives argue that the Convention, as an international treaty, would override the Constitution of the United States, as well as federal and state legislation, thereby destroying American sovereignty. And, in fairness to the critics, it must be acknowledged that some current American laws do clash with the Convention’s child protection features. For example, in the United States, children under the age of 18 can be jailed for life, with no possibility of parole. Also, as Human Rights Watch notes, “exemptions in U.S. child labor laws allow children as young as 12 to be put to work in agriculture for long hours and under dangerous conditions.” Moreover, the treaty prohibits cruel and degrading punishment of children―a possible source of challenge to the one-third of U.S. states that still allow corporal punishment in their schools. But most U.S. laws are thoroughly in line with the Convention.

Perhaps the underlying objection of conservatives is that the Convention calls for government action to promote the health, education, and welfare of children. And conservatives oppose such action for everyone, including children, often quite effectively. Thus, despite America’s vast wealth, it ranks near the bottom of industrialized nations in child poverty (one out of six children), the gap between rich and poor, low birth weight, infant mortality, child victims of gun violence, and the number of children in jail.

Given the conservative opposition to the Convention, it is ironic that, even if it were ratified by the U.S. Senate, it would have little immediate impact upon the United States. As Amnesty International points out, “the Convention contains no controlling language or mandates,” and “no treaty can `override’ our Constitution.” Any changes in U.S. law would be implemented through federal and state legislation in a timeframe determined by the U.S. legislative process. Nor would any changes in American laws necessarily occur, for the U.S. government generally ratifies human rights treaties with the qualification that they not override existing American laws. In addition, “the United States can reject or attach clarifying language to any specific provision of the Convention.”

Even so, U.S. ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child would have an important effect on the treatment of children in the United States, just as the ratification of the Convention has affected behavior in other lands, for it would establish agreed-upon guidelines. Like other human rights treaties, the Convention would set humane standards that can be invoked in calling for appropriate government action. Kul Chandra Gautam, a former Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations, has termed it “a moral compass, a framework of accountability against which all societies can assess their treatment of the new generations.”

Praising the treaty, Anthony Lake, UNICEF Executive Director and a former White House National Security Advisor, stated recently: “The central message of the Convention is that every child deserves a fair start in life. What can be more important than that?”

Unfortunately, some Americans don’t think giving children “a fair start in life” is important at all.

Dr. Lawrence Wittner :
www.lawrenceswittner.com
is Professor of History emeritus at SUNY/Albany. His latest book is a satirical novel about university corporatization and rebellion, What’s Going On at UAardvark?

GA SPONSORED MOLESTATION PREVENTION AGENCIES NOT PROMOTING “HIDDEN PREDATOR ACT” LAW

GA SPONSORED MOLESTATION PREVENTION AGENCIES NOT PROMOTING “HIDDEN PREDATOR ACT” LAW OFFERED BY GOVERNORS OWN (R) PARTY! SOUNDS LIKE “INSIDER TRADING” IF PREDATORS WERE A COMMODITY IN STOCK MARKET? SOS!.

There has been so much progress made in the last couple of months toward keeping Our Children safe, while imposing tougher penalties.  Mr LaHood, the new DA in Bexar County Texas didn’t hesitate in going right to work and sending a message when he started a Child Abuse Division.

Wyoming is in the progress of a major overhaul of their Child Maltreatment Laws, while upping the minimums and maximums on a far too lax revolving door system.

Pennsylvania brought in new laws aimed at improving child abuse prevention and detection, and their reports have doubled already.

With all the good being done to bring laws and sentencing up to, NO I need to say bring them down to the level of sub-human that would ever consider harming a Child!!!!  Then I happen to notice Alan Fountain’s Post, and my heart hit the ground.  I would like to mention that Alan is a big part of Our Circle, and his blog is at:

https://gf4justice.wordpress.com/

How can a whole state like GEORGIA not want to protect Our Children????  If I remember right, “EVERYONE” seemed to be up-in-arms over the kidnapping of the school girls in Nigeria by terrorist, and then selling them into slavery.  Yet here we have a bunch of “good ol’ boys” protecting a good friend, who just happens to be a CHILD PREDATOR.  Then you just happen to add in all the CHILD KIDNAPPINGS that seem to happen in that part of the CHILD SEX AND PORN CAPITAL OF THE U.S., and something is rotten in Georgia.

 

Child Abuse And Neglect Laws Aren’t Being Enforced

States tainted reports
Child Abuse And Neglect Laws Aren’t Being Enforced, numbers are intentionally tainted

Report Finds that Child Abuse And Neglect Laws Aren’t Being Enforced

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2015/01/27/381636056/child-abuse-and-neglect-laws-arent-being-enforced-report-finds

Laws intended to protect children from abuse and neglect are not being properly enforced, and the federal government is to blame. That’s according to a study by the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law, which says children are suffering as a result.

The numbers are grim.  Almost 680,000 children in the United States were the victims of abuse and neglect in 2013. More than 1,500 of them died.

Federal officials say they’re encouraged that the numbers are lower than they were in 2012. But children’s advocates say abuse is so often not reported that it’s impossible to know if there’s really been a decline.

“This is just something that’s chronically underreported,” says Elisa Weichel, a staff attorney with the Children’s Advocacy Institute, which published the report Tuesday.

She says abuse and neglect cases — especially those resulting in death — are often not disclosed as required by law. That lack of information has led to other problems in the system.

“It all boils down to having the right amount of data about what’s working and what’s not,” Weichel says. “And when your data is flawed, every other part of your system is going to be flawed.”

Her group has found plenty of flaws. The institute conducted a three-year study and found that not one state has met all of the minimum child welfare standards set by the federal government. Those standards include such things as timely investigation of reports of child abuse. The institute blames Congress and the courts for failing to get involved.

The Department of Health and Human Services, which reviews state programs, declined to comment on the report.

But there’s broad agreement among those involved in child welfare that the system is in desperate need of repair, agencies are underfunded, and caseworkers are often overwhelmed.

“Whether or not individual states can meet a reporting standard to us is not where the emphasis ought to be,” says Ron Smith, director of legislative affairs for the American Public Human Services Association, which represents child welfare administrators.

“It needs to be on making sure that the kids who need assistance are getting assistance, and the families that need assistance are getting the assistance,” he says.

Smith says state and local officials complain that they spend too much time filling out federal forms and trying to meet requirements that aren’t necessarily best for kids.

Instead, he says, they want flexibility on how to spend federal funds so they can focus more on keeping families together, rather than on helping kids after they’ve been abused and removed from their homes.

Ron Zychowski of Eckerd, a nonprofit company that runs child welfare services in three of Florida’s largest counties, agrees that change is needed. Eckerd has developed a new system to identify which of the 5,000 children under its care are at the highest risk of serious injury or death, so they can fix problems quickly.

“And I’m very pleased to report that in two years we have not had a child death from abuse or neglect in any of our cases,” Zychowski says.

That program is getting lots of national attention, including from a new commission set up by Congress to help eliminate abuse and neglect deaths.

But Zychowski warns, in this field, there’s no silver bullet.
“Bad people will do bad things to children,” he says. “We’re not going to catch them all, and we’re not going to stop them all.”

There was a horrific reminder of that earlier this month. A Florida man was accused of killing his 5-year-old daughter by throwing her off a bridge. Zychowski says the family was not in the child welfare system.

Anonymous to target pedophiles

‘We are declaring war against you, the terrorists.’

Hacking group Anonymous to target paedophiles using the ‘dark web’ to carry out child abuse.

In the wake of the Westminster child abuse scandal and allegations of establishment cover-ups, hackers Anonymous have decided to expose international paedophile networks.

The hacking group says it is planning on collecting evidence against international paedophile rings and their abuse of children to find the links between different operations and ultimately bring the perpetrators to justice.

Named ‘Operation Death Eaters‘ after Voldemort’s band of evil followers in the Harry Potter series, the group is calling for a global effort in exposing the paedophile rings through the power of social media.

This newest Anonymous campaign comes just weeks after the group declared war on jihadists in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris.

Now, they are building a grassroots database of paedophile cases from across the world in order to ultimately expose an ‘international cult’ of child sex abuse.

A Tumblr set up to promote the campaign states: ‘The objective of opdeatheaters is an independent, international, victim-led tribunal/ inquiry into trafficking and paedosadist industry. ‘What is our first step? We need meticulously researched and clearly documented examples of high level complicity in the industry, obstruction of justice and coverups to show the need for independent inquiries.’

Hacktivist group Anonymous plans to expose paedophiles

The UK version of the site states: ‘The CSA inquiry in the UK is an attempt to depict a powerful cult as a string of isolated incidents of “sex abuse”. ‘The complicit UK media is running a huge propaganda campaign to conflate torture and murder with “paedophilia” and call for understanding of “paedophilia”. ‘This is not a group of sad paedophiles who need help and understanding. This is a torture and death cult with a powerful global human trafficking network. ‘WE DEMAND THAT TORTURE AND MURDER BE CALLED TORTURE AND MURDER, NOT SEX. This is an international cult and needs to be investigated as one, not simply as an endless series of isolated incidents confined to the UK. ‘We call upon our comrades globally to help us investigate and demand an end to the trafficking networks with arrests at the top not just the bottom. ‘WE DEMAND AN END TO HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND ABUSE COMPLICITY WORLDWIDE.’

The Independent refers to an Anonymous statement which claims: ‘The Westminster paedophile ring is one of many cases where Operation DeathEaters has actively pursued and sought truth, in order to end the hideous crimes concealed behind the British elite. ‘In fear of these investigations being bungled over time, the operation’s objectives are clear and simple: source public information before it disappears, push for independent enquiry, and offer support to witnesses and the victims where needed.’

Anonymous also cites a number of high profile cases and investigations in the UK including Jimmy Savile, MP Cyril Smith,the claims regarding Elm Guest House and the now-defunct Paedophile International Exchange

Tens of millions of images of child abuse are believed to be circulating online on the ‘dark web’, many showing such graphic abuse that the media is turning a blind eye to the problem, experts warned this week.

Figures from the European Commission’s Global Alliance against Child Sexual Abuse Online suggest 50,000 new child abuse images are uploaded each year – of which more than 70 per cent are images of children under the age of 10.

Heather Marsh, author of Binding Chaos and who works with Anonymous, said: ‘Our central objective is to establish independent, internationally linked, victim-led inquiries into high level complicity, obstruction of justice and cover-ups in the paedosadism and child trafficking industries.  ‘The premise behind OpDeathEaters is to expose high level complicity, obstruction of justice and cover up in the paedosadist industry in order to show the need for independent inquiries.’

On January 10 Anonymous activists released a video condemning the gun attack at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo which left 12 people dead.

The hacking group says it wants to collect evidence against international paedophile rings and look into their abuse of children to find the links between different operations and bring the perpetrators to justice

In the clip, which was uploaded to the group’s Belgian YouTube account, a figure wearing the group’s Guy Fawkes mask and a hood says in French in an electronically-distorted voice: ‘We are declaring war against you, the terrorists.’

Sitting at a desk and reading from a piece of paper, the figure says the group will track down and close all accounts on social networks related to terrorists to avenge those killed.

Anonymous has previously carried out cyber attacks on websites belonging to the Government, as well as those of corporate and religious organisations.

In 2012 Anonymous crippled the Home Office’s website by flooding it with huge amounts of internet traffic.

ANONYMOUS – THE DIGITAL ROBIN HOOD OR JUST CYBER TERRORISTS?

Hacker group Anonymous has been linked to online attacks around the world aimed at punishing governments for policies of which the hackers disapprove.

Members are known as ‘Anons‘ and are distinguished by their Guy Fawkes masks.

The group are seen as anything from digital Robin Hoods to cyber terrorists for their hacking campaigns against government agencies, child pornography sites and the Klu Klux Klan.

In 2008 the online community staged a series of protests, pranks, and hacks Church of Scientology as part if its ‘Project Chanology.’

Later targets of Anonymous ‘hacktivism’ included government agencies of the US, Israel, Tunisia, Uganda, and others, copyright protection agencies; the Westboro Baptist Church; and corporations such as PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, and Sony.

In 2013 they declared war on secretive ‘chat sites’ used by paedophiles to trade images.

Last November they hacked into the Twitter account of the Ku Klux Klan after the white supremacist group distributed flyers threatening ‘lethal force’ protesters in Ferguson.

Dozens of people have been arrested for involvement in Anonymous cyberattacks, in countries including the US, UK, Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, and Turkey.