Monday, September 19, 2016

The most disturbing aspect of a sexual-abuse scandal at an elite, New England prep school.

An independent report released on September 1 detailing the long-term sexual abuse that went on at St. George's School, an elite boarding school in Rhode Island, shed light on the policies that fostered an environment where faculty and staff took repeated advantage of students.
The report, commissioned by St. George's and an organization called SGS for Healing and conducted by an outside law firm, found that six employees abused at least 51 students, and that students sexually bullied or hazed 10 others.
Among its findings, the report determined the rules and standards in place at the school — which "paved the way for abuse of students" — were common among most boarding schools during the 1970s and 80s, and the school's leaders "did little, and certainly not enough" to remedy the situation, according to the report.
For instance, the school allowed faculty to take students on overnight and weekend trips at the school's expense, and dorm parents – adult advisers who live in student dorms  – often let older students supervise dorms in their absence. These practices were, according to the report, not unique to St. George's, and l eaders at the school were not found to have "acted differently than the leaders of many other boarding schools in New England or elsewhere in the United States."  
While the nearly 400-page report paints a disturbing picture of the "private hell" many students experienced, it also investigates how a scandal of this scope could have happened in the first place.
"...[T]he most relevant question is whether school leaders took the steps necessary to prevent, to the extent possible, teachers or staff from molesting students, or to prevent older students from sexually assaulting younger students," the report reads. 
Despite its overall inaction, the school took some steps to address the abuse, according to the report. It fired three employees: Howard White, the associate chaplain; Al Gibbs, the athletic trainer; and Franklin Coleman, the choirmaster and music teacher. A fourth employee and English teacher, William Lydgate, was "likely fired" for the same reason, according to the report.
St. George's, however, continued to support Gibbs and Coleman after their departures. St. George's found that Gibbs was abusing girls, taking naked photographs of them, and circulating those pictures among male students, and at least 31 girls made firsthand reports of abuse at Gibbs' hands, according to the report.
Despite being aware of Gibbs' misconduct, however, the school continued to award him a $1,200 annual grant for "distinguished service," a grant he received until his death in 1996. 
The school's Dean of Faculty also continued to recommend Coleman for other teaching positions. Coleman joined St. Georges' during the 1980-1981 academic year and worked there until May 1988. He "sexually abused at least one student in each year of his tenure at the school," according to the report. 
"But we believe there is no credible justification for the actions the school took to help Coleman and Gibbs after the school fired them," the report reads.
The revelation of such widespread abuse at the school prompted investigators to question why officials ignored the reports and why these issues were not brought to light earlier. The tendency of administrations to look the other way is not unheard of though.
"Often, in these environments, it's common to have victims report the crime and not be taken seriously, or be silenced by the administration and have their reports buried," Terri Poore, policy director at the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, told Business Insider.
"What we've seen historically is that whenever there's a closed system, whether it's the military, or in this case, a school, there's a strong hierarchy and a sense of secrecy and authority," Poore said. "The need for the organization to protect its own reputation can trump the well-being of the victim." 
Pennsylvania Penn State University Students Sexual Assault Fraternity Protest Rape PSUStudents and others demonstrate on the Penn State campus. AP Photo/Matt Rourke
Soon after the report's release, St. George Headmaster Eric Peterson announced that would not renew his contract, set to expire in June 2017, and essentially step down from his role.
Despite the school's previous mistakes, the investigation itself was thoroughly handled, according to Anne Scott, whose account of being raped repeatedly as a sophomore by Gibbs in the 1970s was the key to bringing about the investigation.
"It was very well done, in terms of how the investigation was conducted and the final report itself," Scott told Business Insider. 
"I am happy with the steps the school has taken, especially the fact that they're going to remove Mr. Zane's name from the girls' dormitory, which was very important to the Gibbs survivors," she continued.
Scott was referring to Anthony Zane, headmaster of the school during her years at St. George's. Saying Zane represented a "massive failure" in child protection when he was headmaster, Scott cited his seemingly lenient behavior toward Gibbs, as well as his alleged dismissiveness toward another victim, Katie Wales.
Although Zane was aware of allegations of sexual abuse against Gibbs, he signed off on a recommendation letter for him and approved a stipend Gibbs received annually until his death, according to the report. 
"When Katie Wales went to Zane, she was not believed and not treated well at all," Scott said.
Zane "has said it was he who approached Wales, after a senior boy happened to catch Gibbs photographing a naked girl with a towel over her face and reported him, and said that he never called Wales crazy," according to Vanity Fair.
Zane did not respond to Business Insider's request for comment. 
Since the report's release, St. George's also noted it's taken action to improve the school's culture. A representative for St. George's pointed Business Insider to a letter sent to the St. George's community on September 1 by Leslie Heaney, Chair of the Board of Trustees. Heaney highlighted several steps the school would implement in light of the report's findings. 
First, she announced that St. George's would retain "David Wolowitz, an attorney who specializes in this area, to review the school’s reporting procedures and policies and to conduct additional boundary training of faculty and staff."
The letter points out that a training session occurred in June. 
St. George's would also conduct more extensive and ongoing background checks of employees and volunteer staff and create a "Community Response Team" to handle allegations of sexual abuse in partnership with the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center.
"It's a very good idea and an effective tool for schools to partner with local rape crisis centers to better address sexual violence on campus," Poore said. "Along with that, they should also find ways to improve the conversation itself around sexual assault."
While Scott expressed relief the school has address the issue, she said "there is always more to be done, and that applies to how schools make it a habit to be ever vigilant .... This isn't something that just happened decades ago; it happens today. And schools, including St. George's, need to be vigilant in keeping children safe."
When asked about steps that can be taken on a larger scale, Scott stressed the need for legislative reform in addressing sexual violence.
"We need mechanisms to regulate private schools, we need to reform reporting laws, and we need to put forward a legislative and regulatory reform agenda," she said, underscoring the flaws in current Rhode Island law, particularly on the civil side."

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Hinch names paedophiles during maiden speech

Hinch names paedophiles during maiden speech

BHD Labour Party AGM on July 9: The reception area at City College

Warren Morgan, leader of the Labour Group on Brighton and Hove City Council, alleged "venue staff were spat on". The innocent young member accused is carrying a small rucksack, wearing a t-shirt, and holding a mobile phone. No spitting, barging, or shoving.

Digestion - Science on the Web #2

how the body struggles to digest processed foof.

Brandon Turbeville: Terrorist Support Group Nominated For Nobel Peace ...

Brandon Turbeville: Terrorist Support Group Nominated For Nobel Peace ...: Brandon Turbeville Activist Post September 8, 2016 As if the world couldn’t get any crazier, the committee in charge of nominating prosp...

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The BBC and 911.

Two planes take out three buildings....

Friday, September 09, 2016

Why And When Was Keith Vaz Disbarred ?

Our Lawyer of the Month is the barrister-turned-solicitor, Keith Vaz, who is the Member of Parliament for Leicester East and chairman of the House of Commons influential Home Affairs Select Committee, which examines the expenditure, policy and administration of the Home Office and its associated public bodies.
Keith was born in Aden, Yemen, on 26 November 1956. His parents were originally from Goa, India, and his father was a foreign correspondent for The Times of India. Keith came to Britain from Aden with his family in 1965.
He was educated at Latymer Upper School, Hammersmith and Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge, where he graduated with a BA in 1979. He went on to qualify as a barrister, later disbarred and became a solicitor. He obtained his MA in 1987, also from Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge.
Keith’s legal practice has been in the public sector. He was solicitor to Richmond Council until 1982, when he then became a senior solicitor for the London Borough of Islington, a position he held until 1985. Between 1985 and 1987, he was a solicitor at the Highfields & Belgrave Law Centre in his home town of Leicester.
In 1983 and 1984 consecutively, he unsuccessfully contested the Conservative safe seat for Richmond and Barnes in the General Election and Surrey West for the European election. In 1987 he was elected MP for Leicester East, defeating the right-wing Conservative candidate Peter Bruinvels and became the first Asian MP since Shapurji Saklatvala lost his seat in 1929. He was also the only Asian Member of Parliament until 1992.
During his time as an MP, Keith has held a number of shadow front bench as well as Government posts, including Minister of State for Europe (1999-2001); Parliamentary Secretary (a Minister) at the Lord Chancellor’s Department (May-Oct 1999); Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Attorney General, John Morris and Solicitor General, Lord Falconer QC (June 1997-May 1999).
He previously served as a member of the Constitutional Affairs Select Committee, as chair of the Sub-Committee for Courts and the Judiciary, and was a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee from 1987 until 1992. Between 1993 and 1994 Keith was a member of the Executive Committee of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. He is a member of the Labour Party’s National Executive Committee and is Chair of the Labour Party’s Ethnic Minority Taskforce.
Keith has also been at the centre of controversy surrounding financial wrongdoings and in 2001 a report by the Parliamentary standards watchdog cleared him of various financial wrongdoings, but he was accused of blocking investigation and two minor breaches of failing to declare business interests. In 2002 an inquiry concluded that Keith had “committed serious breaches of the Code of Conduct and contempt of the House (of Commons) and was suspended from the House of Commons for 30 days.
Ambitious and hardworking, Keith has campaigned against violent video games and is a strong anti-racism campaigner. In July 2007 he was appointed the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee. He has been strong in his campaign for solicitors and has expressed his deep concerns about the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and the “disproportionate number of investigations” it conducts into ethnic minority firms as well as its failure to act sufficiently quickly on claims that it investigates a disproportionate number of black and ethnic minority firms. He has called on Bridget Prentice, the Justice Minister, to appoint an independent monitor to oversee the SRA’s work. This appears to have stung the SRA into action and it now states that “black and minority ethnic (BME) solicitors are over-represented in its regulatory investigations, and is concerned to address this”. The SRA has accordingly set up a working party, chaired by Anesta Weekes, QC. Lord Herman Ouseley has been named as the Independent Reviewer.
Keith is married to Maria Fernandez, a solicitor and they have two children.
Below is our interview with Keith:
BLD: Why did you choose a legal career?
KV: I chose law because I felt that the knowledge gained through studying the subject would be useful for any career that I pursued.
BLD: What made you leave law for politics?
KV: I have been involved in politics from a very early age, my mother was the first Asian councillor in Leicester. I would say that politics is in my blood and I find it immensely fulfilling.
BLD: What was the worst career advice you were given?
KV: I haven’t received any bad advice – so far!
BLD: What is the best career advice you would give to others?
KV: To do what makes you happy and to ensure that you are doing something useful.
BLD: If you were to choose another job/role, other than what you are doing, what would it be and why?
KV: I would find it hard to suggest another profession, as politics is what I have worked hard at all my life. Perhaps I would return to law.
BLD: There have been extensive changes in the last 10 years, particularly on Legal Aid reform which has disproportionally and adversely affected ethnic minority practitioners and their vulnerable clients. What should Parliament be doing to ensure that adequate safeguards are in place when passing such legislations?
KV: I think that the changes made to Legal Aid were a disappointment and I tabled an EDM in July to express this. I would like to see better provisions made in the future.
BLD: What was the most famous/interesting case(s) you have handled to date?
KV: Defending a local Leicester shopkeeper against the City Council who wanted to remove it.
BLD: Tell us your professional high point(s).
KV: I think being elected to Parliament would be the highest point. I am deeply honoured that the people of Leicester have chosen me to be their MP in four consecutive elections.
BLD: What was your worst moment as a lawyer and/or politician?
KV: Being a Member of Parliament is always a challenge but I would not be able to ever say that I haven’t enjoyed any of it.
BLD: How do you cope with the media attention?
KV: Media attention is part of being an MP. It can be very useful and raises issues that are important to my constituents.
BLD: The person you most admire (dead of alive) and why?
KV: My mother, Merlyn, who arrived in Britain as a first generation immigrant with three children, who was widowed and had to work as a teacher.
BLD: What are you most passionate/happiest about?
KV: My family is the most important thing to me.
BLD: What are your dislikes/makes you angry?
KV: I never like it when my football team loses!
BLD: Any professional regrets?
KV: No, you can never talk of regrets because that would assume that you would act differently if you had another chance. I could never say that as I may not be the person that I am today otherwise.
BLD: If you could rule the world for a day what you change/do?
KV: I would let everyone have the day off.

Just Chillin on History: PART 5 OF 5:BEYOND MISINFORMATION: N.I.S.T's EVIDE...

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