Sex trafficking website owner pleads guilty

myredbook

Unfortunately it wasn’t anyone from Backpage.

I originally posted about Eric Omuro here. He was the operator of escort website MyRedbook when he was arrested by the FBI on prostitution and money laundering charges back in June. Earlier this month Omuro pleaded guilty to facilitating prostitution.

Omuro admitted that the website hosted advertisements posted by prostitutes containing explicit photos, graphic descriptions of sexual services offered, and rates for the sexual services.

The reason this is a big deal is because it’s the first successful prosecution of its kind. Normally people like this hide behind free speech arguments or the massively outdated Communications Decency Act of 1996 to say that they’re not responsible for what their users post on their websites. However the website operators like Omuro know that these ads are for prostitution. They’re not that stupid and are too greedy to stop.

Hopefully Omuro’s guilty plea put Backpage on notice letting them know maybe they’re not as untouchable as they think they are.

Man sentenced for sex chats with teen that started on Omegle

Marckenson Chery

Marckenson Chery

Everyone’s favorite anonymous webcam chat site is back in the news again. 29-year-old Marckenson Chery, of North Lauderdale, Florida, was recently sentenced to 12 years in federal prison for having explicit web cam shows with a 15-year-old girl. Chery met the girl on Omegle and continued the shows using Skype.

Now here’s why I keep saying that parents should be aware of what apps are on their kids’ phones, tablets and PC’s…

By the time the girl’s father became suspicious and confiscated her phone about two months later, the girl had already participated in several video-sex sessions.

Her dad printed out “approximately 143 pages” of sexually explicit online chats between the girl and Chery.

Not to mention that once a picture or video hits the internet you can never get it back. I hope that in this case that Chey doesn’t like to share.

This story also answers a question that brings some curious folk to this site. Not only can you be arrested for using Omegle with underage kids you can also go to jail for it for a very long time.

The latest ‘school shooting’ video game

hatred1

I almost hate to give this story attention because that’s all it’s designed to do but I know there are going to be some people who are going to be spouting misinformation about it so I thought I’d better enter the fray.

So there’s this fairly new video game out called ‘Hatred’. It’s about what you’d expect, an ultraviolent blood soaked shooter designed only to cause controversy which it’s already somewhat achieved.

Here’s the trailer for it if you can stomach it as it is very graphic.

So let’s get some facts out there. This is not a game that little Billy can just buy out of the case from Wal-Mart. As of right now it’s only going to possibly be available for PC through the Steam Store. So far there’s no rating yet but I can’t see this getting anything less than an AO rating.

It’s already being called a ‘school shooting’ game which as always is a misnomer. From the trailer alone I could see that there were several different locations and the main antagonist doesn’t seem to be some high school kid in mom’s basement. This game is not going to cause your kids to shoot up their school. Art, and I use that term incredibly loosely here, imitates life.

As an almost 40 year gamer myself I have played some pretty violent games in the past decade or so. The difference between those games and Hatred is that Hatred has no moral consequences for the killing spree and no real end goal other than violence for the sake of violence. My personal impression of the game is that it is the video game equivalent of petulant child that only seeks attention. This game will not win any Game of the Year awards, it’s only there to kick the hornets’ nest and in my opinion the only people who will seriously play it will be the fedora wearing neckbeards who argue about ethics in video game journalism.

Now having said that do I believe the game should be banned or censored in any way? No, never. The game designers have the freedom and right to make the game. Steam has the right to sell it in their store.

So what should you do if your sensibilities are shaken to their very core by this game? Simple, ignore it. That’s what you do when something exists only to draw attention to itself, you ignore it and it will go away. And even if it doesn’t no one is forcing you to play the game and it doesn’t affect your life if someone else does.

UPDATE 1/16/2015: Hatred did in fact receive an AO rating from the ESRB. This means you probably won’t see it on home consoles as the big 3 console manufacturers, Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo, do not allow AO rated games on their consoles.

The Company That HIPAA forgot

hipaa

As a lot of you know I was unemployed for most of 2014. Back in November I was offered a job in a pharmaceutical call center and I took it. I figured with my experience in the healthcare field this job will be a piece of cake.

When my training class started the company emphasized how important to them HIPAA was. For those of you who may not know HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. In a nutshell it’s the federal law that protects your private personal health information. If an individual provider or practice or corporation is caught violating HIPAA guidelines hefty fines and jail sentences can be imposed. In my career I’ve been dealing with HIPAA for a while now and understood the gravity of the position my new employer was taking.

For example we were not allowed to have our cell phones out on the call center floor due to fear of someone using it to steal personal information. That’s understandable. I’ve worked at a couple of companies that had similar policies. Then we were told that we could have no pens or paper on the floor so no one could write any personal information down. Instead we were given small white boards and dry erase markers. I thought that was a little extreme since sometimes you have to write things down in order to assist the patient or customer with their request. In other offices there were bins that we dumped all our paper in at the end if the day that would eventually be shredded. But again, I sort of understood where they were coming from. Finally we were told we could have no bags on the floor. No backpacks or purse or what have you. If you absolutely had to bring belonging out on to the floor they had to be in some form of transparent bag. To me this was a little more than extreme so I did some research and found out that the company was fined heavily by the government when one of its former employees was caught stealing and selling personal health information. At that point I assumed that they were just covering all their bases when it came to HIPAA. Then we started taking calls.

During our first week on the call center floor my training class was not authorized to take calls because of an IT snafu so we listened in on the calls of another class who started the same time we did. In the past I may have said that HIPAA was an answer to a question that no one asked but it’s been the law of the land for the while now. You wouldn’t have been able to tell with the calls I heard. The CSR’s were giving out all sorts of personal information to parties that should have not had that kind of access. They weren’t doing it maliciously but no trainer, coach or supervisor was correcting them. When I asked a higher-up about it I was basically told that the new hires have 30 days on the floor before they start cracking down on things like that? That may be great for the new hires but they’re talking to real patients who have real medical needs whose real personal information was being given to unauthorized parties with no repercussions.

Shortly into the 2nd week of being on the call center floor I walked out. I wish I could say it was all due to the flagrant violation of federal privacy laws but it was a rather large part of it. The really sad part is a lot of customers of this company have no idea that their information is being given out so freely.

Why Strangeland should be remade every decade

strangeland

If you haven’t seen the 1998 movie Strangeland it was made by Twisted Sister’s own Dee Snider about teen girls who end up being kidnapped and tortured after meeting a predator online named Captain Howdy. While it may not have been the most compelling movie of all time it’s something that parents should have seen back in the day.

Back in the late 1990s the big predator playgrounds were chatrooms. The movie could have been remade in the 2000s with social networking sites and in the 2010s with smart phone apps.

Not surprisingly this is a tale that Snider has actually been telling since the 1980s with possibly my favorite epic song of his from the 1980s called Horror-Teria, a single track that features the dual songs Captain Howdy and Street Justice. This was from back in a time when the predators had to have physical contact of your kids before they could harm them. I guess they could be called analog pedos by today’s standards.

Mistrial declared in Taft Union High shooting

Taft Union High School

Taft Union High School

Back in January of 2013 a then 16-year-old Bryan Oliver stormed Taft Union High School, in Taft, California, with a shotgun and discharged the gun into the chest of his victim, Bowe Cleveland. Cleveland had to be induced into a medical coma and had further complications after his initial release from the hospital. Oliver fired another shot at another student by the name of Jacob Nichols. A teacher prevented Oliver from committing anymore violence. Oliver was charged as an adult with two counts of attempted murder. Yesterday during the sentencing phase of Oliver’s trial a mistrial was declared.

As in most school shooting cases bullying was used as the main defense. I’m still of the opinion that the bullying in Oliver’s case may have just been a case of him being a violence obsessed loser in the vein of Cho Seung Hui but I digress. It appears that the defense was a successful one for now because of bleeding heart jurors…

“I think he went in there to shoot the child, but I don’t think he went in there to murder,” he said. “Just because you shoot somebody doesn’t mean you want to kill them.”

In the end, Miller said, the greatest failure was on the part of the school district.

“They didn’t step up,” he said. “This boy was crying out for help, and they didn’t give it to him.”

With all due respect sir you are a fucking moron. When you shoot someone, with a gun, killing them is your only intention. Especially when the person holding the gun was discovered to have written bloody revenge fantasy stories. If for some reason Oliver goes free after the retrial in January and goes on to commit violence again you should be the second person held responsible.

Hannah Overton out of jail for now

Hannah Overton (crying salty tears)

Hannah Overton (crying salty tears)

Former convicted killer of her foster child Andrew Burd, Hannah Overton has been released on bond pending a new trial.

So having dealt with criminal misinformation before please allow me to explain what this means. She has not been exonerated. She has not been cleared of any charges. She has not been acquitted. She has not been found innocent. I know I sound like someone from the Department of Redundancy Department but sometimes you have to hold the morons’ hands.

A lot of the article I’ve read on the subject of her release say that she can spend Christmas with her kids and that she can hug her kids for the first time in 7 years. You know who can’t hug or spread Christmas with anyone? Andrew Burd, the foster child that she was entrusted with taking care of and instead allegedly killed him by violence, malice and neglect.

Just because she’s the favorite of 20/20 and a large megachurch doesn’t automatically make her innocent.

Justice is a gift that will go undelivered this Christmas.

Why living with anxiety is like being punched in the face

anxiety

The cartoon I posted above does a pretty good job of representing what it’s like to live with anxiety issues but no matter how clever the cartoon is it can’t really show how people with anxiety problems really feel. Someone with no issues may see that cartoon and think that anxiety only happens infrequently while a lot of us live with it on a constant basis. I’m going to try to explain how it really feels.

Imagine that every day when you woke up you had to be punched in the face. You constantly know it’s coming and there’s nothing you can do to stop it. However if you somehow manage to not get punched in the face there’s a good chance they you’ll lose everyone and everything you love. Sometimes you feel like you’re not getting punched in the face enough or you feel like that no one appreciates that you’re getting punched in the face for them. You can’t tell anyone you’re being punched in the face daily for fear of looking weak or like a complainer. This is how I felt every day for as long as I can remember even when I was a small child in grade school. Just once I’d like to wake up without having that twitchy and flinching feeling knowing that the punch in the face is imminent. Instead, I and countless others put on this false face to try to convince everyone else that everything is ok even though just underneath the surface we are screaming for help. On those rare occasions we do ask for help a lot of times we’re met with eyerolls as to say “Well, just stop having anxiety” as if we wouldn’t switch it off if we could. I often lose sleep over it with the logic that if I don’t go to sleep I won’t have to wake up and be punched in the face. It affects your work too sometimes to the point of an almost paralytic fear but employers don’t want to hear “I’m sorry for my poor performance, you should feel lucky that I even came in today since I constantly have the fear of God in me.” Which leads to more punches in the face that your family and friends wonder why you just can’t take the punches. But you really do want to be able to take the punches. You want to be ‘normal’. You want to be like other people who can roll out of bed with no problem, duck the punch and carry on with the rest of their day. Instead we just keep getting punched in the face with every fiber of our physical being craving some kind of release from this personal hell that we know may only come at the end of our days.

I didn’t post this for sympathy. This is the internet after all and I know where to find it in the dictionary. I posted it in hopes that if you know someone who suffers from anxiety you can have at least a modicum of understanding for what they’re going through.

Divorce in America

What’s the old joke? Do you know why divorce is so expensive? Because it’s worth it.


Via: Raiser & Kenniff, PC

RSO using Kik found in girl’s bedroom

Jose Simentel

Jose Simentel

There’s not many worse nightmares for a parent then finding a strange man in your child’s bedroom. Unfortunately that nightmare came true for a father in Bay Point, California when he found a 29-year-old man in the bedroom of his 12-year-old daughter.

That man was Jose Simentel of Hayward, California who allegedly used the smart phone messaging app Kik to gain the girl’s confidence. Simentel has been charged with allegedly molesting the girl. Even worse is that Simentel is a registered sex offender who was previously convicted of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14.

Kik is used for instant messaging on smartphones like AIM and Yahoo Messenger were used on desktop computers and should be treated as such. Know what apps your kids are using and know who are on their friends lists. If you don’t leaving a virtual window open to your kids is just as dangerous as leaving a real one open.