President Obama issues memorandum on protecting LGBTs abroad

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

Four days in advance of  Human Rights Day on Saturday, Dec. 10,  President Barack Obama today issued a presidential memorandum “to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons,” according to a statement just released by the White House press office.

The statement sent out by the White House includes these comments by the president:

“The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States commitment to promoting human rights.  I am deeply concerned by the violence and discrimination targeting LGBT persons around the world — whether it is passing laws that criminalize LGBT status, beating citizens simply for joining peaceful LGBT pride celebrations, or killing men, women, and children for their perceived sexual orientation.  That is why I declared before heads of state gathered at the United Nations, “no country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere.”  Under my Administration, agencies engaged abroad have already begun taking action to promote the fundamental human rights of LGBT persons everywhere.  Our deep commitment to advancing the human rights of all people is strengthened when we as the United States bring our tools to bear to vigorously advance this goal.”

The memorandum from Obama directs agencies to combat the criminalization of LGBT status or conduct abroad; protect vulnerable LGBT refugees and asylum seekers; leverage foreign assistance to protect human rights and advance nondiscrimination; ensure swift and meaningful U.S. responses to human rights abuses of LGBT persons abroad; engage international organizations in the fight against LGBT discrimination, and report on progress.

I give the president credit for issuing the memorandum at the same time he’s gearing up for what will likely be a tough re-election campaign during which opponents will no doubt use his stance and actions on LGBT issues against him. But I still have to point out that we as LGBT people still face discrimination and inequality right here in the good old U.S.-of-A:

• Our marriages are legally recognized at the federal level and they aren’t recognized in the VAST majority of state and local jurisdictions. We want the Defense of Marriage Act repealed and local and state ordinances and constitutional amendments prohibiting recognition of our relationships need to be overturned.

• There is still no federal protection against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and/gender expression and gender identity. Congress needs to pass — the president needs to sign — the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

• Even though there is now a federal hate crimes law that includes LGBT people, as well as similar laws at many state and local levels, those laws are not well enforced.

Anti-LGBT bullying remains a deadly problem in our schools and our workplaces and on the Internet. We’ve made progress in combating such bullying, but not nearly enough. Dedicate the resources necessary to address the issue effectively.

So let’s applaud our president for the steps he has — and is — taking. There’s no doubt Obama has been more open than any other president about addressing LGBT issues and we have seen great strides forward toward equality during his administration. But there’s a long way to go yet, and we need to make sure that the president — and all our elected officials — know they can’t just rest on their laurels.

—  admin

Putting our children at risk

David Webb
The Rare Reporter

Child sexual abuse a concern for everyone, especially LGBT parents

Most people would probably agree there is no resource that a society cherishes more than its children. So it is hard to fathom how sexual predators manage with such apparent ease to carry out horrendous, undetected assaults on children practically under the noses of their families and others who are charged with their protection.

As horrific as the crime of child sexual abuse is, there are no firm estimates of its prevalence because it often goes undetected and is seriously underreported, according to agencies that study child abuse.

Less than 100,000 crimes of sexual abuse are reported each year because children fear telling anyone, and adults who become aware of the activity are often reluctant to contact law enforcement agencies, even though there is usually a legal requirement to do so.

With so many LGBT households now raising children, it is obviously vital that all parents be aware of the tactics used by sexual predators to seduce children without arousing the suspicion of their families, and aware of the symptoms victims of child sexual abuse exhibit.

The critical need for sustained intervention into child sexual abuse recently gained national attention following a grand jury’s indictment of retired Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on 40 counts of child sex abuse involving eight victims over a 15-year period. The victims reportedly came into contact with the now 67-year-old, married Sandusky in connection with the Second Mile, a children’s charity the former football coach founded.

Although Sandusky denied, this week in an NBC interview, engaging in any type of sexual activity with the pre-pubescent boys, he acknowledged showering and “horsing around” with them after exercise. He also admitted hugging young boys and putting his hand on their legs when they sat next to him.

His admissions shocked viewers and confirmed in many minds what was already suspected — Sandusky is most likely a pedophile that has taken advantage of young boys with the unwitting complicity of their families.

It is a devastating scandal that will likely rival the one that rocked the Catholic Church a decade ago when it became known that untold numbers of Catholic Church priests sexually abused young boys and violated the trust of their families.

If the charges against Sandusky are true, the accounts by the victims portray a classic pattern of enticement and betrayal practiced by the former football coach in his pursuit of the young boys. Likewise, the lack of action by those who knew about Sandusky’s alleged criminal activity parallel what often happens when the abuser commands power and respect in a community.

Much of the difficulty in combating child sexual abuse can be attributed to its relative youth in terms of public awareness about the crime. The first studies on the molestation of children began in the 1920s, and the first estimate of the prevalence of the crime was reported in 1948.

In 1974 the National Center for Child Abuse and Neglect was founded, and the Child Abuse and Treatment Act was created. Since then, awareness about the problem has grown dramatically, and much more is known about deterring the crime and assisting victims of it.

Children’s advocates have identified “red flags” to help parents and others protect children from sexual predators. They warn parents to be wary of someone who wants to spend more time with their children than they do, who attempts to be alone with a child, who frequently seeks physical closeness to a child such as hugging or touching, who is overly interested in the sexuality of a child, who seems to prefer the company of children to people their own age, who lacks boundaries, who regularly offers to babysit,who often gives presents or  money to children, who frequently walks in on children in bathrooms or locker rooms, who frequents parks where children gather, who makes inappropriate comments about a child’s appearance or who likes to photograph children.

Signs of possible sexual abuse in children include a fear of people, places or activities, reluctance to undress, disturbed sleep, mood swings, excessive crying, fear of being touched, loss of appetite, a drastic change in school performance, bizarre themes in drawing, sexually acting out on other children, advanced sexual knowledge, use of new words for private body parts and a reversion to old behavior such as bedwetting or thumb sucking.

Aside from the moral responsibility to protect children and other weaker members of society that all people share, it is essential to intervene in child sexual abuse because of the long-lasting psychological damage it usually causes. The problems can include feelings of worthlessness, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and distorted views of sexuality.

Also, victims of child sexual abuse tend to become sexual predators as adults, making it a crime that begets more crime.

The Sandusky scandal will undoubtedly lead to devastating repercussions for Penn State, for the Second Mile charity with which the former football coach is no longer affiliated and for law enforcement and university officials who became aware of concerns about the former football coach’s activities and failed to act on them.

But the real tragedy — if the allegations are true — will be the lasting impact upon the victims.

David Webb is a veteran journalist who has covered LGBT issues for the mainstream and alternative media for three decades. E-mail him at davidwaynewebb@yahoo.com.        

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 18, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Arlington man sentenced to 14 months for hate crime arson at mosque

Henry Clay Glaspell

U.S. District Judge Terry R. Means this week sentenced Henry Clay Glaspell, 34, of Arlington, to 14 months in prison after Gaspell pleaded guilty to a hate crime charge in connection with an arson fire at the children’s playground at the Dar El-Eman Islamic Education Center in Arlington in July 2010, according to this report from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Means ordered Glaspell, who has been free on bond, to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on Nov. 21.

Glaspell also admitted that he had stolen and damaged some of the mosque’s property, that he had thrown used cat litter at the mosque’s front door and that he had shouted racial and ethnic slurs at people at the mosque on several occasions. Glaspell said his actions were motivated by hatred for people of Arabic or Middle Eastern descent.

Texas legislators passed the James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Act, which allows enhanced penalties to be assessed to those convicted of hate crimes. But while hate crimes are frequently reported and labeled as such by law enforcement, prosecutors rarely take hate crimes charges to court for fear that it would be too hard to prove a perpetrator’s bias-based intent to a jury.

—  admin

Chris Matthews Calls For Senate War Crimes Hearings Over Iraq Invasion

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet

Interesting statistic re: Texas Hate Crimes

Out of 2500 hundred hate crime’s reported in Texas only twelve have been designated as hate crimes. I wonder why?




AMERICAblog Gay

—  admin

Report: UK To Remove Gay Sex Crimes From Records

The Sunday Telegraph reports that UK equalities minister Lynne Featherstone will announce in the new year that gay men who have had consensual sex with a male partner over the age of 16 prior to the increase in the age of consent 10 years ago will have their crimes wiped from their records.

6a00d8341c730253ef0133f209813c970b-300wi The move will benefit thousands of men who were prosecuted for gay sex with someone over 16 during decades when the practice was against the law.

Currently, they must disclose the information as part of the programme of Criminal Records Bureau checks if they apply to work or volunteer for charities and other organisations.
Getting such a conviction expunged currently requires a lengthy process involving a personal application to a local chief constable.

As the Telegraph explains: "Consensual sex between two men over 21 was decriminalised in 1967. It was not until 1994 that the homosexual age of consent was reduced to 18, and 2000 when it was finally brought into line with the law for heterosexuals by being cut to 16."

As had been reported over the summer, Featherstone is also expected to announce that same-sex civil partnership ceremonies will be allowed in churches all over the UK for the very first time.


Towleroad News #gay

—  admin

This Week In Holy Crimes

Over the last seven days…

Texas: Pastor Earl Post arrested for stalking a teenage girl.
New York: Rabbi Victor Koltun pleads not guilty to ordering the murders of two men. Koltun was previously sentenced to five years for mail fraud.
Connecticut: Pastor David Pomales and his children arrested in church brawl.
Bangladesh: Imam Afsar Ali arrested in connection with the death of a woman who was publicly caned for adultery.
Kansas: Pastor Mark Holick arrested for attempting to force gospel tracts upon Muslims exiting a mosque.
Italy: Court upholds the seizure of M in Vatican assets used to launder money for the mafia. The Vatican claims it’s all a “misunderstanding.”
Texas: Pastor Sandra McGriff arrested for burglary after cops apprehended her stealing two fur coats from the home of a church member. Police also found three purses and a laptop in McGriff’s Jaguar.
California: Father Joseph McCabe denied bail pending extradition to Ireland on numerous counts of child molestation.
Texas: Pastor Ivory McDaniels charged with multiple counts of sexual assaults on female minors.
Ireland: Report shows Dublin Archdiocese transferred Father Tony Walsh to cover up numerous sexual assaults on boys and girls. The church never reported Walsh to the police.
Iowa: Pastor Timothy Parker sentenced to 20 years in prison for sexual assault on a child.
Bolivia: Father Jose Ochua sentenced to 22 years in prison for sexually abusing at least 19 children in an orphanage.

This Week’s Winners
Ireland: A newly released report shows that five Catholic priests formed an informal molesters network in which they enabled one another’s crimes by providing rooms in which to commit the attacks and by organizing group excursions with their victims. The report is the first to show that the five accused priests all knew each other and worked together.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

This Week In Holy Crimes

Over the last seven days…

New York: Monsignor Charles Kavanagh has been defrocked after being found guilty of child molestation by a three-priest Catholic tribunal. He is the highest-ranked New York priest so judged and has not faced criminal charges.
Oklahoma: Pastor Baron Hopgood arrested for embezzlement.
Ireland: Father Oliver O’Grady charged with possessing thousands of child porn images.
Ohio: Pastor Mark Griggs charged with more than 100 felony counts of possessing and distributing child porn.
Britain: Monsignor Michael Smith arrested for child molestation.
Colorado: Pastor Loren Ankarlo pleads guilty to multi-million dollar securities fraud.
Ontario: Father Donald Grecco found guilty on 24 counts of molesting altar boys.
Missouri: Father Gerald Howard indicted on three counts of forcible sodomy of a child. Howard was previously convicted of similar crimes in New Jersey under a different name.
Ohio: Pastor Robert Jones fails to appear at his trial for brandishing a gun at a drive-thru bank teller.
Ireland: Father Tony Walsh likely to have molested hundreds, according to a new report.
Britain: Vicar Dominic Stone convicted of possessing child porn.
Nevada: Pastor Joshua De Los Santos arrested for assaulting a member of a “competing” church for not being holy enough.
Tennessee: Pastor David Hoschar indicted for possessing child porn.

This Week’s Winner
Georgia: Bishop Eddie Long, who is already facing lawsuits from four young men who accuse him of sexual coercion, has been linked to a massive mortgage fraud operation being run from his church. According to CBS Atlanta, thousands may have lost their homes after paying 00 during church seminars held by a company that promised to lower their house payments. CBS reports that the seminars are still being held.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

This Week In Holy Crimes

Over the last seven days…

Colorado: Pastor Joshua Amoroso charged with sexual assault of a 14 year-old girl.
Germany: Report implicates more than 250 priests and staffers in child abuse scandal at school in archdiocese once headed by the Pope.
Kentucky: Pastor Currie Pat Clark charged with 296 counts of sodomy of a 12 year-old boy.
Georgia: Pastor Brian Richard Gray charged with 58 counts of child molestation, statutory rape, and sexual assault of a 15 year-old girl.
New Jersey: Newspaper reveals documents proving Archbishop John Myers shielded at least four pedophile priests from prosecution.
Michigan: Pastor Curtis Burkhardt charged with exposed his erection to an 11 year-old girl at a campground. Burkhardt has a previous conviction for the same crime with a 3 year-old.
Australia: Father Brian Spillane found guilty on nine counts of molesting preteen girls. Spillane faces four more trials on 135 similar charges.
Oklahoma: Pastor Baron Hopgood charged with fraud in 0K check-kiting scheme.
Ontario: Father William Marshall charged with two counts of sexual assault. Marshall faces similar charges in several other cases.
Ohio: Pastor David Thompson sentenced to five years in prison for embezzling more than M from his church.
Britain: Father John Shannon convicted on 16 counts of producing child pornography.
Texas: Pastor Terry Nesmith on trial for molesting 9 year-old girl.
Australia: Father Kevin Philips pleads guilty to multiple counts of child molestation.

This Week’s Winner
New York: An unnamed Hasidic rabbi and his son have fled to Israel after being accused of sexually molesting at least four underage female relatives. At least two of the alleged victims are the rabbi’s daughters, once of whom says her father has been molesting her since the age of five. Two of the rabbi’s other sons were arrested in New York and charged with the sexual abuse and rape of their sisters. One of the arrested sons, age 15, is accused of molesting his 8 year-old sister. Police note that the rabbi and the escaped son were driven to the driven to the airport by the rabbi’s wife, who is his first cousin. The two have fourteen children and all names are being withheld to protect the victims.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin

This Week In Holy Crimes

Over the last seven days…

Alabama
: Pastor Carl Lloyd arrested for sodomizing a child.
New York: Rabbi Yehuda Kolko arrested for violating order of protection against 12 year-old boy he’s accused of molesting.
Japan: Buddhist priest Nobuaki Matsumoto busted for hiring middle-school age prostitute.
Florida: Pastor Daniel Richard Robida charged with unlawful sexual acts with a child.
Ireland: Father Raymond Brady charged with molesting ten boys.
Missouri: Pastor Travis Ray Smith on trial for felony statutory rape and child molestation.
Britain: Imam Hafiz Rahman found guilty of child molestation.
Wisconsin: Father Robert Chukwu agrees to repay half of 0K he’s accused of embezzling from his parish.
Virginia: Pastor Irwin Baldwin sentenced to 90 years in prison for soliciting sex from who he thought was a 13 year-old girl. Baldwin in 82.
Britain: Father David Pearce charged with sexual assault on a child. Pearce is already in prison for similar charges.
New Hampshire: Pastor Timothy Dillmuth found guilty of failing to report child molestation.
Alaska: Pastor Shawn Justice found guilty on eight felony counts of sexual abuse of a child.
Florida: Pastor Rodney McGill found guilty of swindling K in a church mortgage scam. McGill was found guilty of a similar crime last year.
Manitoba: Orthodox Archbishop Kenneth William Storheim charged with two counts of sexual assault on unnamed persons.
Indiana: Pastor Robert McFadden sentenced to four years in prison for sexual abuse of a 16 year-old girl.
Pennsylvania: Father Geraldo Pinero suspended after feds raid his rectory to break up his online Ponzi schemes.

This Week’s Winner
Texas: Father John M. Fiala has been charged with hiring a hit man to murder the 12 year-old boy who has accused the priest of raping him at gunpoint. Police say Fiala offered 00 to an informant to murder the child. In a separate pending lawsuit the boy contends that Fiala’s diocese had attempted to cover up his accusations of molestation.

Joe. My. God.

—  admin