Saturday, August 10, 2013

FBI shared child porn to nab pedophiles; Washington home raided

FBI LogoOriginal Article

Remember, they are always saying that any time a child abuse image is shared a child is being re-victimized. So, why is the FBI abusing children and not being arrested for it? Don't forget, many of their own were found to have child porn on their computers, but it was swept under the rug! It's good the site was shut down, but this is insane!

05/28/2013

By LEVI PULKKINEN

The FBI seized and ran a child pornography service late last year as investigators worked to identify its customers, one Western Washington man allegedly among them.

Following a lengthy investigation, Nebraska-based agents raided the large child pornography service in November hoping to catch users who shared thousands of images showing children being raped, displayed and abused.

The Bureau ran the service for two weeks while attempting to identify more than 5,000 customers, according to a Seattle FBI agent's statements to the court. Court records indicate the site continued to distribute child pornography online while under FBI control; the Seattle-based special agent, a specialist in online crimes against children, detailed the investigation earlier this month in a statement to the court.

The investigation appears to mark a departure for the Bureau and other federal law enforcement agencies aiming to root out child porn purveyors.

Historically, child pornography investigations stem from tips made to law enforcement, interactions with undercover officers posing as customers or reviews of documentation seized during searches of child porn clearinghouses like the one recently raided in Nebraska. While investigators are known to have posed as child porn dealers – a 2011 effort involved targeted emails to suspected pedophiles – it is not apparent that the FBI previously dealt child porn as part of a sting.

The Nebraska investigation is still in its early stages, and, while charges appear to be forthcoming, no one being prosecuted has been publicly tied to the site thus far. Information obtained during the investigation resulted in a search of one Western Washington home, and investigators are presently reviewing computers seized during that April search.

The FBI declined requests to discuss the investigation or investigators’ motivations to continue operating the site. Court records indicate investigators hoped to trace customers and were unable to do so through traditional means.

This remains an ongoing investigation, and local court rules and Department of Justice policy prohibit me from providing more information at this time,” said Sandy Breault, spokeswoman for the FBI Omaha Division. “As in any given matter, if charges are filed, they will eventually become a matter of public record.”

1,000s of images shared during investigation

Named only as “Website A” in an April 10 search warrant affidavit filed by the Seattle-based agent, the child pornography service was described as an online bulletin board with the primary business of advertising and sharing child pornography.

The affidavit was obtained by seattlepi.com earlier in May through a publicly accessible court records system. It has since been sealed.

Agents in the Omaha area seized “Website A” on Nov. 16 and continued to operate it until Dec. 2, monitoring messages from users of the website, the Seattle special agent told the court. The site was shut down Dec. 2.

At the time the service was shuttered it had more than 5,600 users and 24,000 posts, nearly all of which related to child pornography. At least 10,000 photos of children being posed nude, raped or otherwise abused were broadcast through the site.

Writing the court, the special agent recounted the site users’ discussions on how to avoid detection by police. One went so far as to publish a lengthy guide on encryption, and protections placed on the service impeded investigators’ work.

Most often, though, “Website A” users chatted about their shared interests – the rape and molestation of children. Message threads on the site included “How to lure a child in my car,” “Meeting other pedos in real life,” and “Do kids LIKE anal sex?

On Nov. 9, a U.S. District Court judge in Nebraska approved a request by law enforcement agents to track down the website’s users.

According to the agent’s statement, investigators were unable to identify “Website A” users through the service’s records. Allowing the site to continue to operate – allowing pedophiles to continue swapping photos and accessing images stored on the site – was necessary to identify the customers.

Court records do not note how many images of raped and abused children were shared or accessed while the FBI was operating “Website A.” Investigators also do not indicate whether known victims of child pornography – abused children pictured in widely distributed pornographic series – have been notified photos of their abuse were again shared as part of the investigation.

Images endure despite prosecutions

In what has become a disturbing legal cliché, federal prosecutors often assert that each time an image of rape or molestation is shared, the child is abused again.

That was among the arguments offered by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Marci Ellsworth last year when she sent a Seattle child molester to federal prison for child pornography crimes unrelated to the Nebraska investigation.

Ellsworth opined that Pinson’s crimes were not, as the child pornography consumers sometimes argue, “victimless.”

Distributing of child pornography – images and videos of real children experiencing the worst moments of their young lives – is not a ‘victimless’ crime, and the heinous nature of this offense should never be diminished by referring to it as ‘just pictures,’” Ellsworth told the court. “The children portrayed … suffer real and permanent damage, for the rest of their lives, each and every time their exploitation is shared over the Internet.”

One of those children – a girl whose father shared images of her being abused that has since become widely shared online – put it more bluntly in a statement to the court filed last year.

I wish I could feel completely safe, but as long as these images are out there, I never will,” she said in a victim impact statement.

Every time they are downloaded, I am exploited again, my privacy is breached, and my life feels less and less safe,” she continued. “I will never be able to have control over who sees me raped as a child. It’s all out there for the world to see and it can never be removed from the internet.

Efforts to interview a Seattle attorney representing her were unsuccessful prior to the holiday weekend. Staff at the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children was also unavailable to discuss the issues surrounding the investigation.

Search on for ‘Website A’ users

The Seattle-area man targeted in the investigation is alleged to have accessed a “jailbait” girls section of “Website A” 10 days after investigators took control of it. Specifically, he’s alleged to have accessed photos showing two men raping a 10 to 12 year old girl.

Seattlepi.com does not generally identify suspects prior to charges being filed. Charges have not yet been filed in the case.

According to the Seattle agent’s statement, the site's users expounded on their interest in watching children be sexually assaulted by several men at the same time, and bragged about a collection of photos on the topic.

There have been over 7,850 views of this thread in less than a week, which is a great compliment to the girls!” one user said in a post, according to a search warrant affidavit. “However, I find it hard to believe than(sic) in the last century and a half since photography was invented, it hasn’t occurred to more people that to photograph a cute little girl being hard (expletive) by two men is a fine and arousing thing to do.”

Users went on to discuss in graphic detail the practicalities of a small girl being gang raped, according to the agent’s statement.

In a separate thread, users discussed their desire to rape children pictured in a series of pornographic photos. One man remarked that he would gag and chain one girl and leave another “swollen from all the abuse,” and then days later expressed similar sentiments toward yet another nude pre-teen girl.

Jesus I would enjoy hurting that child,” a user said in the chat thread, according to the search warrant affidavit.

Agents began watching the Seattle-area home thought to be associated with one user in late-March and seized computers from it on April 10. Charges had not yet been filed in the case, and court records do not indicate whether child pornography was recovered in the search.

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UK - Police investigate 169 staff over predatory sexual behaviour

UK Police
Original Article

08/09/2013

By Sandra Laville

Police forces are being ordered to face up to corruption by officers who commit sexual offences against vulnerable women and young people, as figures obtained by the Guardian reveal 169 officers and support staff are under investigation for predatory sexual behaviour.

Senior officers from the 43 forces of England and Wales have held a high-level private meeting to address the problem of officers who abuse their position to make inappropriate sexual advances or carry out sexual assaults on members of the public, many of whom are victims of crime.

The predatory sexual behaviour of officers, ranging from rape to voyeurism, was among the issues at the top of the agenda at the meeting in Chester, and forces have been told the service has to tackle the problem as a matter of urgency, the Guardian has been told.

Figures obtained from 38 of the 43 forces in England and Wales reveal that 169 officers, police community support officers (PCSOs) and support staff are under criminal and disciplinary investigations for sex-related offences.

There are concerns, however, that only 31, or 18%, of the cases are being overseen in any way by the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).

Debaleena Dasgupta, a lawyer representing women who have been raped or sexually assaulted by police officers, said: "If a woman reports rape or sexual assault by a police officer it is not just that the investigation has to be properly carried out, it has to be seen to be done properly in order for victims to have confidence in the system."

"If these cases are being investigated by the police themselves, then victims are going to get anxious. The IPCC may not have perfect resources but they should be fighting for them in order to investigate these kinds of cases."

The development comes as the former partner of a police officer who was jailed last year for having inappropriate sexual relationships with vulnerable women speaks out against his actions, in testimony seen by the Guardian.

In a film made by Nottinghamshire police, which is being released to all forces next month, the woman said: "I thought he was going to work and doing a professional job, making a difference, and it was all just lies. It affected everybody."

"These people [his victims] were vulnerable. He was in a position of authority. He abused their trust, he abused the public's trust."

The majority of the 169 investigations involve officers or PCSOs and include allegations of rape, sexual assaults, misconduct relating to inappropriate sexual behaviour with victims of crime, voyeurism, accessing indecent images and indecent acts with a child.

Emerging evidence suggests that the victims chosen by police officers were often vulnerable in some way – either women who had gone to the police because they had suffered domestic violence, rape or sexual assault, or individuals who had drug or alcohol addictions.

Five forces did not provide figures, including Leicestershire, which cited exemption Section 30(3) under the Freedom of Information Act, claiming that to give numbers could prejudice inquiries. Northamptonshire police said they were considering withholding the statistics under the same exemption.

A senior source within the police service said: "There are some forces up and down the country who, while they might not be sweeping it under the carpet, are being less than open about what is going on."

Britain's largest force, the Metropolitan police, has set up an internal inquiry to investigate the problem of sexually predatory officers and is taking advice from the Nottinghamshire force, which is acting robustly against such criminality.

The Met's directorate of professional standards is carrying out 42 investigations relating to 47 allegations against officers and PCSOs, including 36 allegations of sexual assault. Sixteen Met officers are awaiting trial for sexual misconduct offences.

In Humberside, where seven officers and staff are under investigation, the IPCC has intervened after a woman complained about the way her allegations of sexual assault by a PCSO in January were dealt with by the force. The PCSO was arrested and questioned, but the case was not referred to the Crown Prosecution Service for criminal charges and the officer resigned a month later, avoiding disciplinary action.

It has since emerged that other alleged victims of the PCSO have come forward and the Humberside force is carrying out a new criminal inquiry, managed by the IPCC.

Detective Superintendent Jackie Alexander, head of the professional standards unit of Nottinghamshire police, where 15 officers and staff are under investigation, said: "We in the police service need to be concerned. This happens in other professions, the church and in teaching, for example, but we in the police have the biggest obligation."

"If people cannot trust the police, who can be trusted? One case is too many for the service and we have got to change our attitude and be alive to the fact that it will happen."

As well as making a film about the problem, her force has introduced a hotline for officers to report concerns.

"We have drawn a line in the sand. We are now finding that more complaints are coming in from colleagues of the officers concerned, or from the officers coming forward themselves, because we are trying to create a culture where this behaviour is totally unacceptable," she said.

Dame Anne Owers, chair of the IPCC, which has urged all forces to do everything in their power to stop such abuse of power by officers, said the police watchdog wanted to get involved in more cases.

"We are currently awaiting the home secretary's proposals on the expansion of the IPCC and welcome the opportunity to extend and strengthen our work. As more resources become available, the IPCC will aim to investigate more abuse of powers cases independently of the police service," she said.

The Guardian first highlighted last year the hidden scandal of the abuse of power for sexual purposes by police officers. Since then, a string of officers have gone through the courts.

Jeffrey Davies, a south Wales officer, faces a jail sentence when he appears at Swansea crown court next week after being convicted of two sexual assaults on victims of domestic violence he met in the course of his duty as an officer. His two senior officers are under investigation for gross misconduct over claims they failed to investigate when the women came forward. Last month Clifford Earl, a Met officer, was jailed for 12 months for groping two women he met in the course of his work.


FL - Florida policemen (Franklin Hartley and Thomas Merenda) accused of forcing women into sex and groin-punching during traffic stop

Franklin Hartley and Thomas Merenda
Franklin Hartley and Thomas Merenda
Original Article

08/09/2013

By Arturo Garcia

Two Lauderhill, Florida police officers were arrested Friday and charged with simple battery and unlawful compensation for allegedly forcing a woman into having sex with one of them and ordering one to punch the other in the groin, to avoid arrest.

KTVJ-TV reported that 33-year-old Franklin Hartley and 34-year-old Thomas Merenda were released on bond and are on administrative leave in connection with a May 24, 2012 traffic stop involving two women who were leaving a local strip club when they were allegedly pulled over by Hartley. Police records indicate the two women were drunk at the time.

Threatning them with arrest, Hartley then allegedly directed the women to follow him to a nearby building, where Merenda joined them. Hartley allegedly had sex with the passenger, then directed the driver to punch Merenda in the genitals.

WFOR-TV reported that, according to the arrest affadavit, the woman refused to honor the request until Hartley “encouraged her, explaining that it was an act from which Officer Merenda derived pleasure.” Later, the two officers allegedly groped the women, and Merenda allegedly called and texted one of them after the encounter.

Unlawful compensation is defined as a benefit or an advantage,” Merenda’s attorney, Eric Schwartzreich, told WFOR-TV. “As a member of the male population, I can say that never in a million years is it a reward to get hit in the family jewels.”

Hartley is charged with two counts of unlawful compensation, which carries a possible 15-year jail sentence, on top of a misdemeanor battery charge. Merenda faces one count apiece of battery and unlawful compensation.


NJ - Former Ramsey officer (Jeffrey Kimmel) gets 7 years in child sex case, report says

Jeffrey Kimmel
Jeffrey Kimmel
Original Article

08/09/2013

By Mary K. Miraglia

A former Ramsey police officer could spend the next 12 years behind bars after being sentenced to seven today for impairing the morals of a 6-year-old girl.

Jeffrey Kimmel tried addressing Superior Court Judge Patrick J. Roma, but he broke down before the words could come out.

These cases are most difficult not just for me but for the court. It’s heart-wrenching,” the judge said. “I can’t imagine what this cute, adorable child went through. She answered the questions best she could, and 12 people believed her.”

Jurors in Hackensack acquitted Kimmel, 49, in April of molesting the girl during the Halloween weekend in 2010. However, they convicted him of child endangerment.

At the time he was arrested, Kimmel was in an intensive supervision plan that allowed him to serve only seven months of a six-year sentence for stealing more than $133,000 from his former department and union.

As a result of the April 2012 arrest, the 14-year police veteran was violated from the program and began serving out the full term for the theft at the Adult Diagnostic Correctional Facility in Avenel last year.

Roma ordered that Kimmel cannot begin serving the seven years he gave him today until he completes the other sentence. He will then remain on lifetime parole and must register as a Megan’s Law offender, the judge ruled.

Defense attorney Craig Swenson told Roma that Kimmel, of Oakland, still maintains his innocence. However, he noted that his client has fulfilled all the requirements while being evaluated and housed at Avenel.

Assistant Bergen County Prosecutor Demetra Maurice provided a different picture for Roma: “He’s not impaired. He’s intelligent and speaks well,” she said. “However, he’s psychologically disturbed.”

During an evaluation at Avenuel, “he endorsed statements relating to child molesting and rape,” Maurice added.

Kimmel’s sentencing was delayed after he sought a new trial in an attempt to be exonerated of all of the charges.

But Roma two months ago rejected Swenson’s argument that Kimmel couldn’t possibly be found guilty of the crime of child endangerment when jurors cleared him of sexually assaulting the girl.