Just because apps like Kik and Snapchat have become more popular with online predators, that doesn’t mean that you can let your guard down when it come to Facebook. When it comes to your kids’ mobile devices not only do you have to keep an eye on Facebook but Facebook Messenger as well. Facebook Messenger only appears as ‘Messenger’ on mobile devices but uses the icon seen at right. Even if your kids only use the desktop version of Facebook you should probably still know their login and password as the desktop version now has a messenger that is just as robust as the mobile one. This would probably be a good chance to also educate your kids that not everyone on the internet is who they say they are and if they’re offering them money they’re more than likely doing so for nefarious purposes.
If you’ve been reading this site for any substantial amount of time, you’ll recognize the name Tom Dart. He is the Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois, which is one of the largest jurisdictions in the country. Sheriff Dart is also one of the most dedicated opponents of Backpage. He is largely credited as being the man who got the credit card companies to stop doing business with Backpage, even though Backpage had an injunction placed on him from doing so in the future.
Sheriff Dart recently spoke with the press to say that he is skeptical of Backpage’s recent actions of shuttering the adult section of their site. That section of Backpage housed thinly veiled ads for prostitution and child prostitution. Sheriff Cook also stated that the prostitution ads have merely moved to the personals section of the site. As I previously posted, while it may be free to place a personal ad on Backpage, you still have to pay for upgrades to make the ad more visible.
A couple days after Backpage made the switch, Dart said his officers set up a “date” with one of the women advertising on the site and confirmed she was charging for sex.
“We went out and arrested a person off the site,” he said. “We answered one of their ads and it was no different.”
So the fight is still far from over. While Backpage may have made a grand gesture, along with complaining about how their supposed free speech rights have been trampled, women and girls are still being trafficked on Backpage. Backpage may claim that the ads being posted in the personals are out of their hands, but as we all know they have a staff of moderators that the Senate alleges edited the prostitution ads to make them appear more legitimate. If they can use their moderators for that then they can use them to keep sex trafficking ads out of the personals, but I highly doubt they will.
By now I’m sure we’ve all heard about the beating and torture that was streamed on Facebook Live out of Chicago. What the headlines were quick to point out is that the suspects were black and the victim was white. What the media was not very quick to point out was everything else in the story. Then again, facts don’t sell papers or get clicks from Facebook, knee-jerk outrage does in these times. In what seems to be the norm these days, most people online were quick to defend their own personal biases in the wake of this story while the truth became lost. It’s my hope to wade through the muck of personal prejudice to find at least a rose petal of truth.
The 18-year-old man, who had been reported missing by his parents in Crystal Lake earlier this week, is shown crouching in a corner on a video carried on Facebook Live. His wrists are bound and his mouth is taped shut.
As a woman shoots the video, two men cut the man’s shirt with knives, then take turns punching him and stomping his head. One of the men cuts the victim’s hair and scalp with a knife, and it appears the man is bleeding.
As the man crouches against a wall, someone shouts, “F‑‑‑ Donald Trump” and “F‑‑‑ white people.”
That was all that was needed to send the Facebook knee jerk brigade into full meltdown. In some cases you could almost smell the kerosene being poured on the crosses. A lot of people seemed to be under the impression that this roving gang of black thugs were just roaming the streets of Chicago looking for someone white that they could torture because Trump won the election. Cries of ‘hate crime’ rang down from the pale tableau of the Facebook masses. Those charged with the attack are Jordan Hill, 18; Tesfaye Cooper; 18; Brittany Covington, 18; and Tanishia Covington, 24. They have all been charged with hate crimes as the mob had demanded. As it turns out, race may have been the least of the motives involved.
Now having said all that, some of you may have the notion that somehow I am trying to excuse the four suspects from what they’ve done. Nothing could be further from the truth. They deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and sentenced to whatever the maximum punishment may be. However, we shouldn’t be outraged by the races of everyone involved with this crime, but rather the fact that four people not only brutally tortured a special needs man but had the audacity to broadcast it live on Facebook. We shouldn’t be blaming the Black Lives Matter Movement or Donald Trump voters for this crime as no one involved is representative of either base. The only thing that race had to with this crime is that it made for inflammatory headlines. Should they have been charged with a hate crime? Absolutely, but mostly because the victim is mentally diminished.
Ask yourselves this. If the victim had been black, would this had been just another story out of crime ridden Chicago? Would there be any Facebook outrage then? Respectively, those answers would be yes and no.
I’ll be posting more updates on this story as they become available and as time allows.
UPDATE 1/29/2017: On Friday the public defenders representing the quartet said they want their clients released because they “are young people who do not deserve to be there.” If this story wasn’t so tragic that might almost be funny. If they felt old enough to torture this poor man, then they’re old enough to be in jail.
32-year-old Antonio Rosales of Chicago is accused in the murder of 16-year-old Desiree Robinson in Markham, Illinois, on Christmas Eve. Rosales was attending a party in Markham when he saw an ad for Robinson on Backpage. Rosales had sex with Robinson, but when he couldn’t pay her he allegedly punched her and slit her throat. Robinson’s friends went to the house where the party was where they found Robinson’s body and a knife. The autopsy said that Robinson had been beaten and choked before having her throat slit.
While I hope that prosecutors do everything within their power to put this scumbag behind bars for the rest of his unnatural life, I hope they’re also looking to prosecute the people who put Desiree Robinson on Backpage to begin with. While some may argue that Ms. Robinson was on Backpage by choice, I find that very hard to believe. The first thing that indicates to me that she was being trafficked is that she had been reported missing as a runaway since November 29th. Pimps and traffickers often convince their underage victims to run away with promises of a life of luxury. Ms. Robinson’s mother also said that Desiree had contacted her but couldn’t tell her mother where she was. Victims of sex trafficking often can’t reach out to their family due to threats of violence against them and their family. I also have to wonder if her ‘friends’ were her pimp and enforcers. A number of prostitutes often travel with a ‘security guard’. They’re supposed to make sure that not only does the prostitute collect the money for the pimps, but they’re also supposed to make sure that the prostitute doesn’t run off. Sounds a lot like slavery doesn’t it?
As far as I’m concerned, whoever turned her out on Backpage is as equally culpable in her death as Rosales allegedly is. This isn’t even taking into account that Backpage once again allowed a minor to be sold for sex on their website which led to her violent death. Just another drop of blood money in their already overflowing coffers.
UPDATE 2/7/2017: The family of Desiree Robinson have made it known that they plan on suing Backpage for Desiree’s death. I hope they’re successful in that endeavor, however history is not on their side as all similar lawsuits filed against Backpage were dismissed.
Police posed as a 15-year-old girl while responding to Beltran. He reportedly responded to the investigator asking the girl if she was shaved. When a meeting had finally been arranged he is said to have messaged the girl by asking “are you ready for daddy to pick you up?” Police say that Beltram was fully aware of the girl’s age when one of his responses was “I’m the one who could go to jail.” With psychic powers like that he should play the lottery. Oh wait, he can’t, he’s in jail on $500,000 bond.
Meanwhile, craigslist founder Craig Newmark recently donated a million dollars in order to combat fake news. Maybe he should have used that money for moderators on craigslist to keep predators like this off their site.
I have a backlog of stories that need posting so some of posts in the near future will be done in what I like to call ‘lightning round’ style. This will be one of them.
29-year-old high school teacher June Kendall, is accused of having sex with two 17-year-old male students from the school. The subject was allegedly broached over the photo sharing app Snapchat, which was said to have included Kendall sharing explicit photos of herself. She reportedly had sex with the two students, albeit separately, at the school during school hours.
Another case of a teacher using Snapchat to prey on students. This time it’s a 31-year-old dance teacher from a Chicago prep school. Angel Pagan is said to have allegedly taken pictures of his junk and sent it to some of his male students over Snapchat. That doesn’t even begin to cover how creepy this guy allegedly is.
According to prosecutors, Pagan taught the first victim, a 16-year-old boy, in one of his dance classes. In early December 2015, Pagan allegedly walked in on the boy as he showered, fully nude, in a school locker room, and began to make comments about the teen’s genitalia.
Pagan also groped the boy several times, claiming he was performing a “cup check,” prosecutors said. In late December and early January, the boy received Snapchat photos of Pagan’s penis. The teen took a screenshot of one of the images and turned it over to police, according to prosecutors.
Prosecutors also say Pagan fondled two students, exposing himself to one of them in the school’s locker room after showering. He also allegedly sent pictures of his genitals to the students with captions that said “fresh and clean” and “shower time.”
When Angel Pagan sent pictures of his uncircumcised penis to a member of the dance team on the social media app, he added the hashtag “teamskin,” Cook County prosecutors said Thursday.
Again what is it with teachers using Snapchat to get in trouble with students. Just because someone is a teacher doesn’t mean they’re smart enough to know that pictures from Snapchat don’t always disappear.
Before we get into the crime itself I have to chide the Chicago Sun-Times for using the terms ‘sexual assault’ and ‘having sex’ when what allegedly happened was clearly rape. In my opinion to not call the crime what it really is lessens the impact of what really happened. Tell me if this sounds like ‘having sex’ to anyone…
Both men sexually assaulted her repeatedly and the other man—who has not yet been charged—took her cell phone and keys, prosecutors allege.
Grant continued having sex with the woman while the other man went to ransack her car, but Grant stopped and ran when he heard a noise, prosecutors said.
Not sex, rape. I can’t even imagine the horror that the victim had to endure not knowing if she was going to live or die while repeatedly being violated.
Secondly I want to address the Backpage issue with this crime. A number of sex workers who claim they’re ‘consenting adults’ say that websites like Backpage make it safer for them. Again in my opinion it does not, as has been shown here it only delivers victims to where potential rapists want them. Am I saying that the victim deserved what she got? Not at all and only the most ardent supporters of the consenting adult myth would ever believe that. However by telling yourself that Backpage makes it safer for prostitutes then you’re just fooling yourself.
29-year-old Roy Akins of Chicago is accused of raping a prostitute that he ordered through Backpage. According to the Chicago Sun-Times Akins didn’t have the money to pay her so when the woman showed up to his house he brandished a gun and raped her instead. Akins even allegedly had the audacity to text his victim ‘apologizing’ for the rape.
First off I want to commend the Chicago police for taking the victim seriously and apprehending her alleged rapist. However I would like to ask how could Backpage possibly make prostitution any safer when it is basically delivering victims to the homes of potential rapists and killers?
Police in Des Plaines, Illinois, have arrested 50-year-old Farhad Tanzifn for allegedly raping a woman he met through craigslist. Police say that Tanzifn placed an on craigslist looking for a roommate and agreed to give the room to a 45-year-old woman. When the woman returned with her belongings Tanzifn allegedly raped her at knife point.
It doesn’t matter which section of craigslist you may use, the odds are there’s some kind of criminal lurking on the other side of the ad and as much as I hate to say it, those odds greatly increase if you’re a woman. That may sound insensitive but unfortunately that’s the way it is on craigslist these days.