March 2013

Hey, Steubenville: Where Was Everyone?

by Diane Dimond on March 25, 2013

Guilty: Trent Mays,17, (L) and Ma’Lik Richmond, 16

            “There are crimes very similar to this that occur every Friday night and every Saturday night in communities across this country….” Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine

 Many of us watched with interest the rape case that recently played out in Steubenville, Ohio. The two defendants, Trent Mays, 17, and Ma’Lik Richmond, 16, were star members of the local high school’s football team and many in the community felt they had been maliciously targeted for prosecution because of their popularity.

However, the evidence was overwhelming and both teens were convicted of sexually assaulting a female classmate. There was a video, still pictures and dozens of contemporaneous text and Twitter messages flying back and forth discussing details of the assault.

The victim, a 16 year old girl, was so drunk (or perhaps drugged) that she was unconscious during much of the prolonged assault. Included in the torrent of more than 3 thousand tawdry messages read aloud to the court were those from eye-witnesses and classmates joking about the “dead-looking” victim and saying, “some people deserve” to be urinated upon. [click to continue…]

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When Internet Fantasies Become Criminal

by Diane Dimond on March 18, 2013

A Cop With Death Fantasies

The “Cannibal Cop” Case was not really about free speech.  But it raises the question: When Does Internet Fantasy Become Criminal?

In case you hadn’t heard about it – it was a bizarre criminal case sensationalized by both the media and the defense team. Slogans and spin were tossed about so fast and furiously that the real facts of the case were hard to determine. At the core of the federal case a very important issue: when do thoughts expressed in internet chat rooms become fodder for criminal prosecution? Could something you write on-line be used against you in a court of law?

From the get-go reporters branded the defendant in this case, New York Police officer Gilberto Valle, “The Cannibal Cop” – a man who used the internet to feed his vile fantasies and conspire with others to kidnap, cook and eat female victims.

Attorneys for Valle maintained federal prosecutors were trying to convict their client, “For his thoughts … his (written) fantasies,” and not for any bona fide criminal activity. [click to continue…]

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Crime Rates Are Down – But Why?

by Diane Dimond on March 11, 2013

Down: Crimes like Murder, Rape and Burglary

If you follow the news you’ve heard that violent crime rates are down all across the country.

I know it is hard to believe after news of mass shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Aurora, Colorado and the current murder spree in Chicago but facts are facts. The instances of crime have been slowly and surely declining for the last two decades.

Back in 1994, a Gallup survey found that more than 50% of Americans cited crime as the nation’s biggest problem. In another Gallup survey conducted last year that number was down to just 2%. I keep wondering why? What caused the rate of murder, rape, armed robbery and other violence-inspired crimes to plummet so dramatically? Did we just get lucky or is there a specific reason (or reasons) for the improvement? [click to continue…]

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Pope Benedict XVI Says Good-Bye

It is no secret. The Catholic Church is in crisis with many of its priests charged with un-Godly crimes. There seems to be no end to the reports of sex abuse of children, sex scandals within the ranks of the clergy and the blatant cover-up by church elders who should have been protecting the flock of faithful and not their ne’er-do-well colleagues.

I don’t pretend to know why Pope Benedict XVI became the first to resign in almost 600 years. But, I’m going to bet it had something to do with the constant drumbeat of scandal that marked his 8 year reign.

Before he became Pope he was Joseph Ratzinger, a German Cardinal. You may not know, however, that he had long been in charge of the Vatican office to which all reports about sexually misbehaving priests were directed. In other words, for years every single complaint about sexual abuse by a priest crossed the desk of Cardinal Ratzinger. [click to continue…]

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