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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.

It was one of Canada's most promising social media apps. But Kik, once valued at $1 billion, is to be closed, in large part because of a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into a cryptocurrency created by the app's owners.

960x0Though not mentioned in the closure announcement released late Monday by CEO Ted Livingstone, the anonymous messaging app faced consistent criticism it had become a crime haven. Harassment and child exploitation, for instance, were constant problems.

In one shocking case, a 13-year-old was murdered by the man with whom she was communicating over Kik. A Forbes investigation later found that grooming and sharing of child abuse material was rife across the app. And earlier this year, it emerged the FBI had taken control of a Kik user's account to run groups sharing such illegal imagery for over a year as investigators sought to ensnare pedophiles. 

But Livingtone didn't mention any of those problems. Instead, he said the company is refocusing on its cryptocurrency, Kin, launched back in 2017. In June the SEC charged Kin's creators over an initial coin offering (an ICO is a public sale of a cryptocurrency's tokens) that raised $100 million. (After another Forbes investigation, Kik promised to spend $10 million of that money on dealing with child abuse on the platform; with many other platforms, like Facebook and Twitter, also now investing hundreds of millions to deal with similar problems, the “anything goes” era now well and truly over.)

The SEC believes that Kin coins are, effectively, securities and should be regulated as such. That meant that the ICO should've been registered with the SEC, which it wasn't, according to the regulator. In a blog post, Livingstone cited problems with fighting the SEC on that issue as one of the core reasons for closing Kik.

READ THE FULL STORY ON FORBES

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.

Paul Iantosca, the Denville school principal accused of trying to solicit sex from a 16-year-old former student, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to child abuse.

The 52-year-old principal of Valleyview Middle School was arrested in May after sending the student sexual messages on Snapchat, a social media platform, and arranging to meet him in a Denville parking lot.

 

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.

jessup sex abuseAn Upper Marlboro man who coached at a Jessup sports center was accused Tuesday of sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl in Howard and Anne Arundel counties, according to police.

Marc Stephen Moore Jr., 46, has been charged by Anne Arundel County police with multiple counts of sex abuse of a minor, solicitation of a minor, fourth-degree sex offenses and distribution and possession of child pornography. Moore faces similar charges in Howard County.

Police in Howard County said they got a report from the girl, who claimed she had been sexually abused by Moore at the Maryland Junior Sports Center in Jessup, where police said he was a volleyball coach.

READ THE FULL STORY IN CAPITAL GAZETTE

 

Source: Capital Gazette Annapolis, MD

Aziah is one of the lucky ones.

The 11-year-old who spent the last six years in 11 foster homes will share Christmas morning with his new family — his forever family that adopted him last month.

He is one of nine siblings placed in foster care to remove them from a neglectful and abusive home. He was adopted Nov. 16, National Adoption Day, along with 11 other children in ceremonies at the county courthouse.

christmas photoBut now Aziah has found a safe grounding place.

“I feel excited, not having to move again. I hated moving,” the sixth-grader said. “ ’Tis the season to be jolly … I am happy.”

“It has been a journey, but we made it … Happily ever after,” he said, singing the last part.

The “we” means not only his family — mom and dad, Wendy and Chris Newcomb, and a baby sister the couple is adopting as well — but a team from Anne Arundel County Department of Social Services, counselors and his court-appointed special advocate case worker, Caryn Weaver.

There were still 142 children in foster care in the county at the end of November, nearly half the number of children who were in the foster system in 2005 when numbers peaked at 266.

A statewide effort to reduce the number of children in foster care, Place Matters, launched in 2007. The lives of children caught up in the foster system — bouncing from home to home, changing schools, social workers and families — become more chaotic the longer they are in the system.

Foster care and other rules preclude the Newcombs or anyone else from providing details about the environment from which Aziah was saved. One would only say it was heartbreaking..

See The Full Story about Aziah and his family in The Capital Gazette Newspaper

A former Bible study instructor at an Annapolis church was sentenced Tuesday to 10 years in prison for sexually abusing a child.

Erick Ernesto Granados-Zeledon, 39, of Edgewater, was arrested in June and charged with sex abuse of a minor and several related crimes. A 10-year-old child told investigators that Granados-Zeledon sexually abused him.

On Tuesday, Circuit Court Judge Michael Wachs sentenced him to 10 years in prison with five years probation. Granados-Zeledon is required to register as a tier three sex offender for the rest of his life and has been barred from any unsupervised contact with minors.

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