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Naperville, Illinois: Manager gets 22 months for sex with minors
Craig R. Gagnon 2401 Fraggle Drive Naperville, IL 60540
SINGAPORE: For more than two years, a business development manager preyed on a teenager in need and lured her with easy money in return for sexual services.
As the girl was only 15, Moh Yan Chung made elaborate arrangements to evade detection by either sneaking her into hotels or to flats when nobody was around.
Once, he invited a friend to join them in a threesome when the friend wanted to view a rental flat in Queensway. She agreed as Moh suggested that she could earn extra money. They each paid her $150 for the encounter.
On Wednesday, the 40-year-old was given 22 months’ jail after he admitted to five charges of commercial sex with a minor and unlawfully stalking her between 2014 and last May.
Seven other charges were taken into consideration. He was offered $25,000 bail, pending his appeal against sentence.
Deputy Public Prosecutor N.K. Anitha said Moh, who was also known as Daniel and Vincent, came across the victim’s online advertisement for modelling opportunities and contacted her for a “private session” in December 2011.
He learnt that the teen was providing sexual services to earn money for her personal upkeep.
Moh, a graduate with a master’s degree from Ireland, offered her an hourly rate of more than $100, depending on what she could do.
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Asked if she was willing to provide sexual services, she told him she would not perform or allow unnatural sex when they first met between Dec 22 and Dec 24 that year.
Despite knowing she was below 18, Moh paid to have sex with her regularly, investigations showed.
He would drive her to multi- storey carparks and perform sexual acts with her in the back seat of his car or at the staircase. After a few months, he took her to different apartments, including his own home in Jurong West, and hotels.
DPP Anitha said Moh paid her between $150 and $350 after each sexual tryst.
Whenever she was involved in a serious relationship and wanted to stop the sexual activities to focus on rebuilding her life, he would not let her by threatening to expose her.
Sometime in December 2013, she told her then boyfriend about her dealings with Moh.
The boyfriend broke up with her and advised her to report the matter to the police.
When she finally decided to stop meeting him, Moh threatened to “bring her along” if she destroyed him.
The victim, who is now 21, made a police report on March 17, 2014.
Moh had also been stalking her by contacting at least five of her friends. He “warned them” of the kind of person she was and told them of her sexual activities.
As a result, she felt harassed, said DPP Anitha.
The DPP had sought a stiff sentence of at least two years’ jail to reflect the court’s unwavering and strict stance on sexual exploitation of children and young persons.
Moh, who is married with a two-year-old child, could be jailed for up to seven years and/or fined on each charge of paid sex with a person under 18 years old. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network
Sherman, Texas: Making molehills into mountains - Adult responses to child sexuality and behaviour
Willie T. Aaron 3651 Grant Street Sherman, TX 75090
Sexual behaviour among children can be perplexing for adults as they negotiate a spectrum of ideas relating to abuse and natural curiosity. In the search for understandings, adults can act in ways that close opportunities for children to explore and describe meanings for the behaviour. This article invites practitioners to check their assumptions in this kind of work, and to take a stance that opposes abusive actions – while taking up a position of enquiry to support the multiple stories that make up children’s lives.
Akron, Ohio: Having sex with corpses is still legal in several American states
George L. Milligan 3951 Little Street Akron, OH 44308
Necrophilia – having sex with corpses – is still legal in several American states, due to what one politician describes as ‘loopholes in the law’.
Aaron Vega, 45, is trying to get the law changed in Massachussetts, where no law explicitly outlaws necrophilia.
In other states such as Kansas and Louisiana, the law is fairly murky on the legality of sex with dead people.
Vega told the Guardian, ‘Currently, it is illegal to have sex with an animal in Massachusetts, but not with a dead person.
‘If a perpetrator rapes a victim prior to a murder, there will be two charges – a rape charge and a murder charge.
‘Currently under the law if the perpetrator murders a victim and then rapes the victim after the murder, there would be only be one.
Vega is pushing for a new law which would make sex with dead people illegal.
Vega says, ‘We want to know how a loved one is treated, even in death. What it comes down to is knowing that our loved ones are safe – whether it’s just a body, or something that contains a soul.’
Redmond, Washington: Buried alive
Francisco L. Webb 209 Ryder Avenue Redmond, WA 98052
To those whose delicate sensitivities were likely to be upset at the sight of spouting blood or severed limbs, this method of execution proved to be ideal. At best the victim, while dying, was completely hidden from view; at worst, where the victim was buried up to the neck, at least only the head was visible, death being apparent when finally the eyes closed and silence reigned.
Although in Saxon times some barons disposed of their criminals by forcing them into a crucet house, a short, narrow chest, the spikes with which it was lined bringing about a slow and agonising death, burying alive never really caught on in England, only one case being reported in the ancient annals. That occurred in 1222:
A similar device to the Saxon crucet house was employed in France, and was known as the chambre á crucer. This was a chest, also studded with spikes or containing sharp stones, into which the victim was crammed and then buried alive.
Sometimes the chest was dispensed with, as in 1460 when a Frenchwoman, condemned for theft, was sentenced to be buried alive before the gallows. And the Duc de Soissons, on discovering that a manservant of his had had the temerity to tarry one of the maids without first obtaining the ducal permission, had them both buried alive in the grounds of his estate.
Earlier, in the thirteenth century, during the war against the Albigenses, the sister of the governor of Le Voeur was lowered into a pit, which was then filled up with boulders.
In Germany duels, with clubs as weapons, took place between men and women, much thought having first been given to equalise the obvious discrepancies between the sexes, the man, one hand tied behind his back, was armed with three clubs but had to stand up to his waist in a large hole in the arena. The woman, at liberty to move where she wished, had three stones, each swathed in cloths.
The rules of the contest were listed in a book written by H.C. Lea in 1892: each of the adversaries would proceed to strike the other as opportunity presented itself, but should the man, either in order to maintain his balance or to recover from a blow, touch the ground with his hand or arm, he would forfeit a club. Should the woman hit him with a stone after he had lost all his clubs, she would lose one of her stones. If, during the combat, she managed to render the man unconscious, he would be executed. But should he, despite her elusiveness, be able to club her into insensibility, she would be declared the loser, and would be buried alive.
Dutch women also suffered similar deaths, not by contests but at the hands of the Spanish, when that nation ruled The Netherlands. One, Ann Ven der Hoor, of the town of Malines, refused to embrace Roman Catholicism and was buried alive, only her head being left exposed. A final choice being given, she refused to abjure her faith, and so the executioner covered her head with earth, then stamped on her until she expired.
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Switzerland, too, disposed of some of its unfortunates by burial, preferring, however, to entomb them within walls or cellars of buildings, a method adopted by the Ancient Persians, whose condemned criminals were imprisoned inside the double walls of houses adjoining the main roads in the cities. To increase their torment they were bound hand and foot, thereby making it impossible for them to reach the gifts of food and water pushed through crevices in the walls by sympathetic passers-by.
In India the practice of burying female offenders alive was associated with chastity – or rather the loss of it. Sir Thomas Roe, visiting the court of the Great Mogul in Bengal in 1614, reported that a woman, discovered to be involved in an intrigue with a lover, was placed upright in a hole containing a stake to which her feet were bound. The earth was rammed round her legs and body up to the armpits and she was kept in this position for three days and two nights without food or water. Her head was uncovered, ensuring that she was fully exposed to the heat of the tropical sun. Had she survived the ordeal, a pardon would have been granted, but the privations were too overwhelming, and she died shortly afterwards.
The price of unchastity was also high in the days of the Romans. Vestal Virgins who yielded to temptation and so lost their qualifications and honoured places in the temple were, promulgated in 451 bc in the Decemviri of the Twelve Tables, forthwith entombed in a small cave or buried alive in the ground, wearing only a single garment.
One Virgin was thus buried because, on seeing a wedding, she murmured wistfully: ‘Felices nuptae! Moriar ni nubere dulce est.’ (‘Hail, happy bride! I wish I were dead, or married!’) The former of her wishes was swiftly granted.
Further east, the wind-blown sands all but obliterate the old caravan route which leads from Karakorum, once the capital city of Genghis Khan, traverses the Gobi Desert via the Mongolian towns of Bayan Tumen and Baruun Urta, and ends at Peking (now Beijing). The route is lined with small mounds, each the trial place of those who, in the sixteenth century, sought to ambush and rob the rich merchants of their spices and ivory, their silver and jewels.
Many expeditions were led against the wily raiding parties, but few of their members were captured, and it became obvious that stern deterrents were required. As in London at that time, where the practice of exhibiting the heads of wrongdoers on London Bridge warned of dire retribution, so the authorities in Mongolia bethought themselves of the qualities of the soil of their region which, when mixed with straw and water, solidified into a form of cement.
Accordingly, captured bandits were buried alive at intervals alongside the caravan route, in holes filled with the mixture, their visible heads functioning both as signposts for the merchants and ‘Keep Off’ signs for any would-be marauder.
Los Angeles, California: The value of duck sex research versus a skeptical Congress
Eddie H. Durbin 4733 Parkview Drive Los Angeles, CA 90017
BOSTON—"The national debt is a big structural problem," former Representative Brian Baird told his audience at the meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. And that, according to Baird, is one reason scientific research comes under fire. “If you can’t solve something big," he went on, "distract people by attacking something small.” All too often, that something small has been scientific research.
Two of the researchers who found their work under fire were on hand to describe the experience and talk a bit about the lessons they learned.
One of them was David Scholnick of Pacific University who produced the video above, showing a shrimp going for a run on an underwater treadmill. It's hard to tell just how many people have ended up viewing the video, given that it has been cloned, set to various music, and appeared in news reports that have also made their way onto YouTube—it's fair to say that it's quite popular. Scholnick wasn't looking for that popularity. He had just put the video up on his faculty webpage; someone else grabbed it and stuck it on YouTube.
A treadmill of outrage
Scholnick also wasn't looking for the attention it received from then-Senator Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), who claimed the treadmill cost $3 million and named it as an example of wasteful government spending without even bothering to find out what the results were. Representative John Culberson (R-Texas) saw Coburn's report and said “NSF should avoid funding studies” like that. Then the news picked it up. Mike Huckabee blamed Scholnick's spending for leaving the military unprepared. It showed up on Fox News three times, including as recently as last year (the video was posted in 2009). AARP picked it up, too, and blamed the cost for grandparents not getting healthcare.
Scholnick even went to DC and talked to Senator Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), who took over the waste reports when Coburn retired. The video still showed up in the next one.
And that bugs Scholnick. “This is a publicity stunt," he said, "this is not an individual who is concerned about public spending.” Why's that? Because the treadmill cost the government nothing. Its bearings came from an old skateboard Scholnick had been using. The tread is just an inner-tube that's been stitched together. Any parts that cost money were paid for out of Scholnick's pocket. The $3 million dollar figure? That came by adding up every single grant Scholnick's ever received and then throwing in various grants awarded to his collaborators for unrelated projects.
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The reality is that most of the research that goes on in Scholnick's lab is done by undergraduates who work during the summer. Between their low stipends and the long hours they work, it's done at about $4 an hour for personnel and about $20,000 to keep the lab supplied and make sure the university keeps the lights on. The shrimp? Local fishermen give them to Scholnick for free.
That's because the fishermen have done something nobody in Congress could be bothered to do: find out what the research is all about. Scholnick said that most animals in the ocean are carrying various infections and parasites that can influence their behavior and activity. Scholnick tries to figure out how these animals are affected by looking for changes in their physiology. To make this as realistic as possible, he forces the animals to be as active as they would be in the wild. Hence the treadmill.
It's not earth-shattering research, but it's hardly an utter waste of money—especially considering how little it costs. But, if Congress ever gets bored of going after shrimp, there's always duck penises.
Patty Brennan studies genitalia at Mount Holyoke College. The physical shape of genitals is very diverse even among closely related species. It's shaped by distinct selective pressures in both males and females. Figuring out what these pressures are and how animals have responded to them is a great opportunity to study evolution. One of the more dramatic instances of this is in ducks, where both males and females have evolved corkscrew-shaped genitals in what's essentially an arms race. Brennan's research on the topic was striking enough to earn an article in The New York Times. (Her response: “yay, someone else likes duck penises!”)
So she set up a Google alert to see if there was any further coverage, which is how she found out when conservative news media discovered her work and placed it in a list of research that was labeled wasteful spending as the budget sequester went into effect. Sean Hannity later joined in the attack.
But Brennan noticed a pattern to all of this: most of it involved organismal biology. She suspected this is because it's easy to understand. "Everybody knows what a duck is, everybody knows what a penis is, you put them together, haha,” Brennan said. “You never heard of a politician making fun of quantum physics.” But she said that's misguided, and she now has a list of results that demonstrate this: how understanding mating habits of an insect pest saved us $20 million in annual control efforts; how understanding bird migration has made air travel less likely to end in dangerous collisions; and how studying bird song enabled us to recognize that our brains are able to produce new nerve cells, for example.
But even if these attacks are misguided, historian Melinda Baldwin said they're not likely to go away. Questions about public funding of science date back to the 1960s, and direct attacks on funding started in the 1970s. William Proxmire, a Democratic senator who served in the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, frequently named research as wasteful spending and even attacked peer review as "elitist" and "incestuous." Then, as now, scientists weren't ready to defend either their research or the process of science itself. But Baldwin said that the attacks are worst at times of financial or budgetary turmoil, so now might be a good time for scientists to get ready.
As Baird said, “If you think it’s been bad before, it’s going to get really bad soon.”
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