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The Blue Ribbon Project

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The Blue Ribbon Project

Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess announced today that a jury convicted James Robert IV, 38, of Severn of sex abuse of a minor, seven counts of rape and lesser included offenses. This appears to be the first case in the State of Maryland where a comfort dog accompanied a victim when testifying during a trial.


"Testifying in court can be extremely traumatizing for survivors of sexual assault especially for a child. In this case, the use of a comfort dog provided the survivor with a sense of safety as she recounted the horrific details about the abuse she suffered," said Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess. "With professional counseling and continued family support, I hope that she will continue to heal. I am grateful that the defendant will be held accountable for his crimes and can no longer hurt her. I would like to thank Caring Canines for providing this valuable service to those who have been traumatized."


On November 15, 2018, the Anne Arundel County Police Department responded to the 1700 block of Carriage Court to conduct a well-being check after receiving a tip from a sexual assault tip line. The tip stated that the defendant, later identified as James Robert IV, had raped the survivor. On November 20, 2018, the Anne Arundel County Police Department and the Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services interviewed the survivor who revealed that the defendant raped her on four separate occasions and threatened to kill her. During one incident, she advised that he choked her and only stopped after she told him she was unable to breathe.


During the trial, the survivor testified with the aid of a comfort dog from Caring Canines. The dog and handler were trained and certified through PetPartners.org to provide interventions and emotional support for victims of trauma. In 2018, Anne Arundel County and Harford County Circuit Courts became part of a pilot program allowing the use of comfort animals in the courthouse. The program was launched with the support of Administrative Judge Laura Ripken who considers written requests made on behalf of children who appear in either civil or criminal proceedings.
Robert will be sentenced on January 29, 2020 by the Honorable Stacy W. McCormack.


Assistant State's Attorney Mary-Ann Burkhart prosecuted the case on behalf of the citizens of Anne Arundel County.

Physical abuse is non-accidental physical injury (ranging from minor bruises to severe fractures or death) as a result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, shaking, throwing, stabbing, choking, hitting (with a hand, stick, strap, or other object), burning, or otherwise harming a child, that is inflicted by a parent, caregiver, or other person who has responsibility for the child. Such injury is considered abuse regardless of whether the caregiver intended to hurt the child. Physical discipline, such as spanking or paddling, is not considered abuse as long as it is reasonable and causes no bodily injury to the child.

The first step in helping abused or neglected children is learning to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect. The presence of a single sign does not mean that child maltreatment is occurring in a family, but a closer look at the situation may be warranted when these signs appear repeatedly or in combination. 

Days before Francois Brown was to stand trial for beating his girlfriend’s toddler to death, city prosecutors accused him of once fracturing the femur of a baby girl.

Assistant State’s Attorney Michele Lambert told a judge that Brown fractured a baby girl’s leg bone in November 2017, bringing to three the number of young children he allegedly hurt. Two of them died.

“The improbability of the defendant being innocently entangled in two child homicides and one serious non-fatality in the span of six years in facially inconceivable,” Lambert told the judge.

Privacy policy

  1. 1. Introduction

1.1     We are committed to safeguarding the privacy of our website visitors; in this policy we explain how we will treat your personal information.

1.2     We will ask you to consent to our use of cookies in accordance with the terms of this policy when you first visit our website. / By using our website and agreeing to this policy, you consent to our use of cookies in accordance with the terms of this policy.

  1. 2. Collecting personal information

2.1     We may collect, store and use the following kinds of personal information:

(a)      information about your computer and about your visits to and use of this website (including your IP address, geographical location, browser type and version, operating system, referral source, length of visit, page views and website navigation paths);

(b)      information that you provide to us when registering with our website (including your name and email address);

(c)      information that you provide when completing your profile on our website (including your name and email address);

(d)      information that you provide to us for the purpose of subscribing to our email notifications and/or newsletters (including your name and email address);

(e)      information that you provide to us when using the services on our website, or that is generated in the course of the use of those services (including the timing, frequency and pattern of service use;

(f)      information relating to any transactions that you enter into through our website (including your name, address, telephone number, email address and card details;

(g)      information that you post to our website for publication on the internet (including your user name, email address, biography, website address);

(h)      information contained in or relating to any communications that you send to us or send through our website (including the communication content and meta data associated with the communication);

(i)       any other personal information that you choose to send to us;

2.2     Before you disclose to us the personal information of another person, you must obtain that person's consent to both the disclosure and the processing of that personal information in accordance with this policy.

  1. 3. Using your personal information

3.1     Personal information submitted to us through our website will be used for the purposes specified in this policy or on the relevant pages of the website.

3.2     We may use your personal information to:

(a)      administer our website and business;

(b)      personalise our website for you;

(c)      send you non-marketing commercial communications;

(d)      send you email notifications that you have specifically requested;

(e)      send you our email newsletter, if you have requested it (you can inform us at any time if you no longer require the newsletter);

(f)      send you marketing communications relating to our business or the businesses of carefully-selected third parties which we think may be of interest to you, by post or, where you have specifically agreed to this, by email or similar technology (you can inform us at any time if you no longer require marketing communications);

(g)      provide third parties with statistical information about our users (but those third parties will not be able to identify any individual user from that information);

(h)      deal with enquiries and complaints made by or about you relating to our website;

(i)       keep our website secure and prevent fraud;

(j)      verify compliance with the terms and conditions governing the use of our website (including monitoring private messages sent through our website private messaging service); and

(k)      company records of donations.

3.3     If you submit personal information for publication on our website, we will publish and otherwise use that information in accordance with the licence you grant to us.

3.4     We will not, without your express consent, supply your personal information to any third party for the purpose of their or any other third party's direct marketing.

3.5     All our website financial transactions are handled through our payment services provider, PayPal. You can review the provider's privacy policy at https://www.paypal.com/us/webapps/mpp/ua/privacy-full. We will share information with our payment services provider only to the extent necessary for the purposes of processing payments you make via our website, refunding such payments and dealing with complaints and queries relating to such payments and refunds.

  1. 4. Disclosing personal information

4.1     We may disclose your personal information to any of our employees, officers, insurers, professional advisers, agents, suppliers or subcontractors insofar as reasonably necessary for the purposes set out in this policy.

4.2     We may disclose your personal information:

(a)      to the extent that we are required to do so by law;

(b)      in connection with any ongoing or prospective legal proceedings;

(c)      in order to establish, exercise or defend our legal rights (including providing information to others for the purposes of fraud prevention and reducing credit risk);

(d)      to the purchaser (or prospective purchaser) of any business or asset that we are (or are contemplating) selling; and

(e)      to any person who we reasonably believe may apply to a court or other competent authority for disclosure of that personal information where, in our reasonable opinion, such court or authority would be reasonably likely to order disclosure of that personal information.

4.4     Except as provided in this policy, we will not provide your personal information to third parties.

  1. 5. International data transfers

5.1     Personal information that you publish on our website or submit for publication on our website may be available, via the internet, around the world. We cannot prevent the use or misuse of such information by others.

5.2     You expressly agree to the transfers of personal information described in this Section 5.

  1. 6. Retaining personal information

6.1     This Section 6 sets out our data retention policies and procedure, which are designed to help ensure that we comply with our legal obligations in relation to the retention and deletion of personal information.

6.2     Personal information that we process for any purpose or purposes shall not be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes.

6.3     Notwithstanding the other provisions of this Section 6, we will retain documents (including electronic documents) containing personal data:

(a)      to the extent that we are required to do so by law;

(b)      if we believe that the documents may be relevant to any ongoing or prospective legal proceedings; and

(c)      in order to establish, exercise or defend our legal rights (including providing information to others for the purposes of fraud prevention and reducing credit risk).

  1. 7. Security of your personal information

7.1     We will take reasonable technical and organisational precautions to prevent the loss, misuse or alteration of your personal information.

7.2     We will store all the personal information you provide on our secure (password- and firewall-protected) servers.

7.3     You acknowledge that the transmission of information over the internet is inherently insecure, and we cannot guarantee the security of data sent over the internet.

7.4     You are responsible for keeping the password you use for accessing our website confidential; we will not ask you for your password (except when you log in to our website).

  1. 8. Amendments

8.1     We may update this policy from time to time by publishing a new version on our website.

8.2     You should check this page occasionally to ensure you are happy with any changes to this policy.

8.3     We may notify you of changes to this policy by email or through the private messaging system on our website.

  1. 9. Your rights

9.1     You may instruct us to provide you with any personal information we hold about you.

9.2     We may withhold personal information that you request to the extent permitted by law.

9.3     You may instruct us at any time not to process your personal information for marketing purposes.

9.4     In practice, you will usually either expressly agree in advance to our use of your personal information for marketing purposes, or we will provide you with an opportunity to opt out of the use of your personal information for marketing purposes.

  1. 10. Third party websites

10.1    Our website includes hyperlinks to, and details of, third party websites.

10.2    We have no control over, and are not responsible for, the privacy policies and practices of third parties.

  1. 11. Updating information

11.1    Please let us know if the personal information that we hold about you needs to be corrected or updated.

  1. 12. Cookies

12.1    Our website uses cookies.

12.2    A cookie is a file containing an identifier (a string of letters and numbers) that is sent by a web server to a web browser and is stored by the browser. The identifier is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server.

12.3    Cookies may be either "persistent" cookies or "session" cookies: a persistent cookie will be stored by a web browser and will remain valid until its set expiry date, unless deleted by the user before the expiry date; a session cookie, on the other hand, will expire at the end of the user session, when the web browser is closed.

12.4    Cookies do not typically contain any information that personally identifies a user, but personal information that we store about you may be linked to the information stored in and obtained from cookies.

12.5    We use both session and persistent cookies on our website.

12.6    The names of the cookies that we use on our website, and the purposes for which they are used, are set out below:

(a)      we use both session and persistent cookies on our website to recognise a computer when a user visits the website / track users as they navigate the website / improve the website's usability / analyse the use of the website / administer the website / prevent fraud and improve the security of the website / personalise the website for each user / target advertisements which may be of particular interest to specific users;

12.7    Most browsers allow you to refuse to accept cookies; for example:

(a)      in Internet Explorer (version 10) you can block cookies using the cookie handling override settings available by clicking "Tools", "Internet Options", "Privacy" and then "Advanced";

(b)      in Firefox (version 24) you can block all cookies by clicking "Tools", "Options", "Privacy", selecting "Use custom settings for history" from the drop-down menu, and unticking "Accept cookies from sites"; and

(c)      in Chrome (version 29), you can block all cookies by accessing the "Customise and control" menu, and clicking "Settings", "Show advanced settings" and "Content settings", and then selecting "Block sites from setting any data" under the "Cookies" heading.

12.8    Blocking all cookies will have a negative impact upon the usability of many websites.

12.9    If you block cookies, you will not be able to use all the features on our website.

12.10  You can delete cookies already stored on your computer; for example:

(a)      in Internet Explorer (version 10), you must manually delete cookie files (you can find instructions for doing so at http://support.microsoft.com/kb/278835);

(b)      in Firefox (version 24), you can delete cookies by clicking "Tools", "Options" and "Privacy", then selecting "Use custom settings for history", clicking "Show Cookies", and then clicking "Remove All Cookies"; and

(c)      in Chrome (version 29), you can delete all cookies by accessing the "Customise and control" menu, and clicking "Settings", "Show advanced settings" and "Clear browsing data", and then selecting "Delete cookies and other site and plug-in data" before clicking "Clear browsing data".

12.11  Deleting cookies will have a negative impact on the usability of many websites.

  1. 13. Our details

13.1      This website is owned and operated by The Blue Ribbon Project, Inc.

13.2    We are registered in Maryland under registration number number, and our registered office is at

              The Blue Ribbon Project

              P.O. Box 4412

              Annapolis, MD  21403

13.3    Our principal place of business is at

              The Blue Ribbon Project

              P.O. Box 4412

              Annapolis, MD  21403

13.4    You can contact us by writing to the business address given above, by using our website contact form, or by telephone on 1-800-757-8120.

 

DENTON — An Easton woman has been charged with child abuse after allegedly leaving an 18-month-old child along state Route 328 near Denton, state police said.

82E6A743 EE78 433E 8D84 9BBAA4E717C3Elizabeth Newnam, 29, of 29416 Petunia Drive, is charged with second-degree child abuse, neglect of a minor, reckless endangerment, second-degree assault, disorderly conduct and driving under the influence.

Read the full story at Times-Record (MD Eastern Shore)

Annapolis, MD -- Anne Arundel County State's Attorney Anne Colt Leitess announced today that Arthur Antonio Wiggins, 46, was found guilty of sex abuse of a minor by an Anne Arundel County Circuit Court jury.

Grants Awarded to Improve Child Abuse and Neglect Investigations 
Grants are Part of Federal Children’s Justice Act Funds

ANNAPOLIS, MD – The Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) today announced more than $250,000 in funding from the federal Children’s Justice Act (CJAC) grant program. Funding is awarded to organizations and law enforcement agencies to improve the  investigation, prosecution, and judicial handling of cases of child abuse and neglect, particularly child sexual abuse and exploitation.

“These grants have a tremendous impact in our communities,” said V. Glenn Fueston, Jr., GOCCP Executive Director. “This funding can assist with training or other administrative costs, allowing awardees to focus their funds in more strategic ways to protect children from abuse and neglect.”  

Grants were awarded to the following entities:

  • Anne Arundel County Police Department - $2,143
  • Baltimore Child Abuse Center, Inc. - $4,715
  • Baltimore County Department of Social Services - $3,135
  • Caroline County Department of Social Services - $3,520
  • Carroll County Sheriff's Office - $2,016
  • Center for Children, Inc. - $5,137
  • Community Advocates for Family & Youth - $31,668
  • Court Appointed Special Advocate of Allegany County, Inc. - $23,387
  • Court Appointed Special Advocate Program of Baltimore, Inc. - $17,820
  • Court Appointed Special Advocate of Caroline, Inc. - $7,098
  • Court Appointed Special Advocate of Harford County, Inc. - $7,098
  • Court Appointed Special Advocate of Montgomery County, Inc.- $10,000
  • Court Appointed Special Advocate of Prince George's County, Inc.- $17,778
  • Court Appointed Special Advocates of Washington County, Inc. - $1,980
  • Howard County Police Department - $6,728
  • Maryland CASA Association, Inc. - $18,425
  • Maryland Children's Alliance- $12,000
  • Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services - $71,696
  • Talbot County Department of Social Services - $3,842
  • The Tree House Child Advocacy Center of Montgomery County MD Inc. - $3,088
  • University of Maryland Baltimore - $23,223

This is the 14th year of the grant. Since the program began in 2004, more than $3 million has been awarded from the program.

Information about the federal CJAC program may be found https://www.acf.hhs.gov/cb/resource/childrens-justice-act&source=gmail&ust=1543340830476000&usg=AFQjCNECqtr3D8h0ZUZC4qev06Fu5exB2w Information about the state program may be found http://goccp.maryland.gov/grants/programs/cjac/%23documents&source=gmail&ust=1543340830476000&usg=AFQjCNFmHynf6NSQ41xT_Z89K11Qai0S0g.  

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catholic follow upThe explosive report about sexual abuse by Catholic priests unveiled by a Pennsylvania grand jury in August has set off an unprecedented wave of investigations over the last several months, with attorneys general in 14 states and the District of Columbia announcing probes and demanding documents from Catholic officials. Those efforts have been joined by a federal investigation out of Philadelphia that may become national in scope.

The swift and sweeping response by civil authorities contrasts sharply with the Vatican’s comparatively glacial pace. While some U.S. dioceses have published lists of priests they say have been credibly accused of sexual abuse and two cardinals have been ousted, the Vatican this month put on hold a vote by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on measures to hold bishops more accountable until after a global synod in early 2019. In the meantime, Rome has done little to address the crisis.

“The Catholic Church has proven that it cannot police itself,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan (D), whose state is among those investigating. “And civil authorities can’t let the church hide child sexual abuse allegations as personnel matters. They’re crimes. We need a full accounting of the church.”

The new investigations are taking place in a very different climate than existed in 2002, when the Boston Globe exposed decades of abuse and coverups in that city. Many lay Catholics have lost faith in the church’s ability to right itself and are pushing for civil authorities to hold high-ranking church officials accountable. There’s also a greater willingness by law enforcement to do battle with a church that has become a far less formidable local presence. And the graphic grand jury report has spurred widespread public outrage.

However, hope for action won’t be satisfied quickly. Following an initial flurry of news conferences and calls to hotlines set up for the public to report abuse, there is likely to be an extended period of silence while prosecutors gather evidence.

Read The Full Story in the Washington Post

Erin Cole was six months old when her parents divorced caused her life to spiral out of control. Read on to learn how she not only overcame years of abuse and trauma but also used her troubled past to fuel her dreams.

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Members & Volunteers

Upcoming Events

December 7th 4:00pm to 7:00pm: ‎Fence & 'Deck The Halls' Holiday Clothing Drive in Millersville: Join us at Fence & Deck Connection in Millersville as they support The Blue Ribbon Project. More Info...


December 8th 2:00pm to 4:00pm: Volunteer Day: A day when volunteers come in to help sort donations and build Backpacks of Love. More Info...


December 14th 10:00am to 2:00pm: Speak Up...Speak Out Child Abuse Awareness Training: Join us for this free Child Abuse Awareness Training Program for Professionals More Info...


February 8th 10:00am to 2:00pm: Speak Up...Speak Out Child Abuse Awareness Training: Join us for this free Child Abuse Awareness Training Program for Professionals More Info...