Re: Rotherdam

1

Is it wrong of me that my immediate assumption is that the racial aspect is pure buck-passing? My snap reaction the police failed to prosecute the rapes because they're a bunch of indifferent neanderthals (to an extent that I find absolutely mystifying. Running into a couple of guys like that, sure. That people with attitudes like that were in total enough control of the police force that a problem this big got ignored for over a decade shocks me) and they're now crying that political correctness and anti-racist policies kept them from enforcing the law.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:03 AM
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2

Well, that makes more sense than anything else.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:09 AM
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1: well, there actually was a racial aspect in that all the perpetrators were Asian and a lot (possibly most) of the victims were white. And it isn't just the police saying this: it's child protection officers, council employees etc. Admittedly they could all be passing the buck.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:10 AM
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What I meant by the 'racial aspect' is the apparent attempt by the police (I'm admittedly getting this through summary news coverage) to use the race of the perpetrators as an explanation for why there weren't prosecutions.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:12 AM
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HMIC found that SYP had a culture of trying to write down violent crime (and non-violent crime like burglaries) as much as possible - not actually logging incidents as crimes immediately, but writing off a lot of them wrongly as "no crime".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:13 AM
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Of course, there's something kind of weird about a situation where the race of the perpetrators is known with certainty in a situation where there weren't investigations or prosecutions. The story probably is at least largely as it's being reported -- Asian perpetrators, white victims -- but I wouldn't be surprised if later reports made it more complicated.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:15 AM
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What I meant by the 'racial aspect' is the apparent attempt by the police (I'm admittedly getting this through summary news coverage) to use the race of the perpetrators as an explanation for why there weren't prosecutions.

There seems to be a big debate in the UK, and France, probably all over Europe, over whether it's better to deal with minority groups by "multiculturalism", that is, encouraging their unique ways and allowing them to segregate as much as possible, or "integration". The right-wing anti-multiculturalism people point to things like this as what can happen when you allow insular communities to police themselves.

Also, is this in Rotherdam in England, or Rotterham in the Netherlands?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:17 AM
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4: it's not the police that have been making the link: it's a researcher from the Home Office, and various people talking to the Jay inquiry.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:17 AM
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Note the article on the racial aspect is from the Telegraph, whose target demographic is the more genteel section of the "it's political correctness gone mad!" crowd.

All the article mentions is someone getting reprimanded for pointing out the perpetrators are Asian, but what purpose does that serve, pointing that out? Does that help you better investigate and prosecute the offenders in some way? If the authorities were indeed reluctant to pursue this on race grounds, that is a scandal. Is that made clear somewhere?

Generally British justice has a long, deserved track record of being worse than useless on sexual crimes against women. You don't need to bring the PC element in to explain this.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:18 AM
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5: That certainly happens here too -- there was a scandal in my neighborhood a couple of years ago, where a serial rapist was arrested for one rape, confessed to a bunch of others that weren't on the books as unsolved rapes, and the detectives in charge of the actual arrest located a series of reports of the prior rapes that had been deliberately downgraded and filed as reports of lesser crimes.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:18 AM
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6: there were certainly plenty of Asian victims as well, but they are under a lot of pressure from their families never to report it.
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/aug/29/-sp-untold-story-culture-of-shame-ruzwana-bashir


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:19 AM
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5: what the fuck is it with SYP? Between this and Hillsborough (and I guess the Cliff Richard thing too) that organization seems utterly fucked.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:19 AM
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13

9.3: these were crimes against boys as well as girls.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:20 AM
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14

1, 3.

Buck-passing is a likely partial "excuse" for the "racial aspect." I can imagine there was also a "two groups we despise ('wogs' and 'chavs'), so it isn't worth the trouble" thing going on too.

6

The NYT article refers to similar incidents (all Asian perps, mostly white victims) in other UK towns, some of which were eventually prosecuted.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:21 AM
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13: Fine, amend "sexual crimes against women" to "sexual crimes." No objections here.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:22 AM
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13: I think it's typically even harder to get people to recognize and report those.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:24 AM
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Of course, there's something kind of weird about a situation where the race of the perpetrators is known with certainty in a situation where there weren't investigations or prosecutions.

There were, eventually, investigations, prosecutions and convictions. Five of the abusers were convicted in 2010. This is a story now because of the Jay Inquiry report coming out, and various suggestions that the abuse was far more widespread than the 2010 trial found.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotherham_child_sexual_exploitation_scandal#Independent_Inquiry_into_Child_Sexual_Exploitation_in_Rotherham


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:24 AM
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18

I guess I'd want to amend 1 to make it clear that I don't think the "We can't prosecute these crimes, the perpetrators are Asian," bit was after-the-fact buck-passing. It sounds as if it was an ongoing excuse for indifference -- anti-racism wasn't a genuine motivation for not enforcing the law, but it was something that could be used to deflect pressure to do something.

I'm still stunned, though, by the demonstrated level of indifference.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:26 AM
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19

Agree with 18.

The thought must have occurred to them, though: "Rotherham doesn't have that big an Asian population. Only a few thousand. If we believe this report - 1400 victims, over 16 years - do we have a Pitcairn situation here? Are we going to have to round up most of the male Asians in the entire town? How's that going to look?"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:35 AM
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If the authorities were indeed reluctant to pursue this on race grounds, that is a scandal. Is that made clear somewhere?

The Jay Report would be a good place to start.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:36 AM
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21

The way I understood it the perpetrators were politically connected, based on something Alex said.


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:36 AM
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22

It's 1400 victims, not suspects. A handful of serial abusers could easily do that within 16 years.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:37 AM
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Might have been a worry, but probably an overstated one. Insanely high numbers of victims aren't necessarily going to mean insanely high numbers of perpetrators; even more than the norm, this really isn't a situation where it's likely that that there was a unique rapist for each victim.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:38 AM
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Grooming almost a hundred new victims per year? I don't think a handful of abusers could do that.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:39 AM
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How big is a handful?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:41 AM
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26

Ok, amend "handful" to "a number somewhere between 50-200." No objections here.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:41 AM
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From BBC's Panorama show.

Linked w/o endorsement, but it alleges a lot of suppression, victim blaming, and the "racial aspect" as well. Since the researcher involved is anonymous, can't give it full credence.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:43 AM
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28

Global warming can't wipe us off the earth fast enough. I'd buy you all Escalades if I could.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:43 AM
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26: That would be a sizeable fraction of the Rotherham Asian population, per 19.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:46 AM
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23: again, read the report. There were a large number of perpetrators here.
200 would be 10% of the adult male Asian population.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:46 AM
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29: Cool.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:48 AM
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30: Thank you for this observation.


Posted by: real ffeJ annaH | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:50 AM
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33

31 and 32 - especially 31 - seem a little tone deaf, given the subject matter.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:51 AM
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34

When I was in seventh grade, my oldest brother went to college and joined a frat. He then taught me a bunch of his super-secret incredibly cool frat songs. One of those songs involves the Rotterdam Dutch in an offhand lyric,
(You got your Highland Dutch and your lowland Dutch
And your Rotterdam Dutch and your goddamned Dutch,
Singing Glorious, glorious,
One keg of beer for the four of us.
Sing Glory be to God that there ain't no more of us
'Cause one of us could drink it all alone, damn near.
)

And many other verses. ANYWAY: Rotterdam isn't Rotherdam but it's close enough to get the old frat song out of the recesses of my brain and into my ear. (Drunk last night, drunk the night before, gotta get drunk like I never got before. Cause when I'm drunk, I'm happy as can be, cause I am a member of the Souse family. Etc ad nauseum.)

See, on topic.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:51 AM
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35

33: But nothing compared to 34!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:52 AM
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34: variant words to "Gassed Last Night", sounds like.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:53 AM
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37

Huh. I never knew.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:55 AM
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38

Since the researcher involved is anonymous, can't give it full credence.

There might be good reasons for anonymity. The gang responsible for the abuse have threatened a lot of people with murder. Again, read the report.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:55 AM
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39

If this came out a few years ago already, it helps provide some background to a trend I've noticed in British detective & police procedurals lately: the presumption of deep corruption, reaching very high up in the organization but also down to the lowest levels as part of a huge and long-running conspiracy, usually to protect some heinous pattern of crime by the well-connected.

This occurs bewilderingly often in plotlines, on a number of shows.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:57 AM
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40

I mean, I haven't given that song much thought over the past few decades, but it's far lamer now to know that they took a clever, macabre gallows humor song, and...turned all the death stuff into drinking beer?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:57 AM
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37: used, along with lots of others, in "Oh! What A Lovely War!"


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:57 AM
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Here's the link for the report:

http://www.rotherham.gov.uk/downloads/file/1407/independent_inquiry_cse_in_rotherham


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:57 AM
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39: see also famous Yorkshireman Jimmy Savile.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:59 AM
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44

What's going on with Pitcairn now? Everyone got really short jail terms and they're all out. I hope some mechanism was put in place to stop it from happening all over again.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in." (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:01 AM
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40: gosh, I'm just killing everyone's buzz today.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:06 AM
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45: You're probably getting kickbacks to drive people to Eggplant's vodka & pot seed diet, aren't you?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:12 AM
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39: Yeah, it made me think of Red Riding, which was about a decade-spanning kid-raping cabal in Yorkshire.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:13 AM
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48

10% of the Asian population in this town sounds like an unfathomably high percentage, until you remember that 6% of male US college students have apparently actually committed rape or sexual assault.

Still, even with that said, it sure does seem plausible that something on this scale couldn't have been perpetrated for this long without something more than just your ordinary indifference to rape/sexual assault, either through political connections of the perpetrators or some additional reason, including plausibly a desire not to create a race scandal.

It also sure does seem like Knifecrime Island was particularly bad about not investigating rapes in general (Jimmy Saville, etc.) for a long period of time, though that's probably just a coincidence of reporting and I'd bet (without knowing, obvs) that much of continental Europe is way worse.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:13 AM
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49

https://twitter.com/ruthserwotka/status/504393140661665792


Posted by: David the Unfogged Commenter | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:14 AM
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From the report:

13.44 In 2004-2005, a series of presentations on CSE were first made to councillors and then other relevant groups and agencies, led by the external manager of Risky Business, from Youth Services. The presentations were unambiguous about the nature and extent of the problem. They included the following information:

a) a description of CSE in Rotherham and its impact on children as young as 12;

b) the scale of the problem;

c) the exercise of control through drugs, rape and physical force. In Rotherham, 55% of such children had used heroin at least once per week; 40% had been raped; 73% had sexual health problems; 33% had attempted suicide. Most had self harmed; and

d) the section on perpetrators mentioned an Asian family involved with taxi firms, and identified 50 people, 45 of whom were Asian, 4 were white, and 1 African-Caribbean.

13.45 Attendees were provided with background information listing the known addresses of alleged activity, including hotels and takeaways in Rotherham. It also included taxi companies alleged to be involved, and case studies of three girls. In total, Risky Business supported 319 girls on either a one to one or group work basis over an 18-month period from April 2004 until October 2005. The presentation was made at the end of 2004 to the Rotherham Children and Young People's Board, with six councillors present, including the Leader. The following April, a further presentation was made to 30 councillors. The explicit content meant that by 2005 few members or senior officers could say 'we didn't know'. Similar material had been passed to the Police in 2001 by Risky Business on behalf of the local agencies.

13.46 In response to these growing concerns about sexual exploitation in Rotherham, a Task and Finish group was set up in December 2004, chaired by the Leader of the Council. Only one minute of its meetings (March 2005) was available, though other minutes contained references to this group's work. The March minute listed a number of actions including multi agency training, a local publicity campaign and appointing a Co-ordinator on the issue, though this did not seem to happen until 2007. In November 2005, the Chair of the Children and Young People's Voluntary Sector Consortium wrote to the Chief Executive, expressing concern at the problem of child sexual exploitation in Rotherham and recalling that members of the Consortium gave evidence to the Task and Finish Group on March 2. The Consortium had not been represented at any meetings after that. She requested a progress report on the Group's work. The Chief Executive's reply has not been found. In late 2005, the Group agreed that more awareness training around CSE needed to be provided within the child protection training programme. There is no further record of this group's meetings or its outputs or how it ceased to exist.

13.47 At several points from the early 2000s onwards, members increased the funding to Risky Business, in recognition of its valuable work. Members also responded to the funding pressures experienced by children's social care over many years by affording protection to the service when significant savings were required, in particular from 2008 onwards. Nevertheless, it should be noted that Rotherham started at a low base of funding for children's social care, compared to its neighbours, and whatever protection afforded did not fully compensate for the underlying lack of investment and rising demand.

13.48 The Lead Member for CYP (2005 - 2010), who later became the South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, was aware of CSE from the outset of his tenure, and believed that reports on the subject which he regularly received as Lead Member were taken seriously and acted upon by the Council in conjunction with the Police. This was stated in his written evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2013, where he also stated that race was never presented to him by staff or agencies as an obstacle to investigating offences.

13.49 In 2006, a Conservative councillor requested a meeting with the Council Leader at which he expressed his concerns about CSE. This had come to his attention via constituents. He told the Inquiry that the Council Leader advised him the matters were being dealt with by the Police and requested that he did not raise them publicly.

13.50 Latterly, in 2012/13 further CSE training sessions for councillors were organised with the attendance being 60 out of 63 councillors.

13.51 Interviews with senior members revealed that none could recall the issue ever being discussed in the Labour Group until 2012. Given the seriousness of the subject, the evidence available, and the reputational damage to the Council, it is extraordinary that the Labour Group, which dominated the Council, failed to discuss CSE until then. Some senior members acknowledged that that was a mistake. Asked if they should have done things differently, they thought that as an administration they should have tackled the issues 'head on', including any concerns about ethnic issues.

13.52 The terms used by many people we spoke to about how those in authority (members and some officers) dealt with CSE were 'sweeping it under the carpet', 'turning a blind eye' and 'keeping a lid on it'. One person said of the past 'the people above just didn't want to know'.

13.53 In September 2013, the Council Leader apologised 'unreservedly' to those young people who had been let down by the safeguarding services, which prior to 2009 'simply weren't good enough'. He reiterated that the safeguarding of young people was the Council 's highest priority and announced that an independent inquiry would be held.

That's what the local elected government knew, not what the police knew, which I assume is comparable or more detailed.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:16 AM
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The taxi part is a big deal because it seems like once you know that gangs of taxi drivers are involved in child abuse it would be relatively easy to shut it down. Apparently, parents told their kids never to take taxis. The whole thing is completely bullshit.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:32 AM
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52

Isn't the most parsimonious explanation that the police were actively involved in covering it up, rather merely negligent?


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:33 AM
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53

53 -- I haven't read the full report, but is "Risky Business" the name of a government agency (or, and I'm glad to get a chance to use this UK work, a "QUANGO"? Don't they know that the original "Risky Business" was a brothel operated by Tom Cruise?


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:36 AM
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54

53 to 50. Lowering the tone.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:37 AM
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55

53: it was an independent child welfare project.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:41 AM
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56

I'm not a big proponent of the death penalty, but if someone covers a kid with gasoline and threatens to set them on fire if they talk about how they were raped, I would like to see them beaten to death in public.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:42 AM
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Isn't the most parsimonious explanation that the police were actively involved in covering it up, rather merely negligent?

In this regard, it reminds me of the Marc Dutroux case in Belgium. I don't think it was ever proved that Dutroux had pedophile friends in high places (as he himself claimed at trial), but it would explain the facts of the case at least as well as the alternative hypothesis of monumental police incompetence.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:53 AM
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56: I can empathize strongly with the emotional response, but still no.

I'm just boggled. There's nothing surprising to me about sexual crimes getting pushed under the rug and ignored on a one-by-one, piecemeal basis. But when you've got presentations being made to government agencies naming people who are being charged with committing rape of young teenagers on a wholesale basis? How could that not have led to either fairly swift prosecutions, or a retraction after threat of a defamation suit?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:53 AM
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59

It is utterly baffling. More so even than the Jimmy Savile business.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:00 AM
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58: Paradoxically, the instinct to circle the wagons / sweep things under the rug / deal with the problem quietly in order to preserve institutional prestige may be stronger when the alleged wrongdoing is so pervasive. I imagine the bishops of yesteryear would have had an easier time saying "Crack down on child sex abuse in the priesthood and leave no stone unturned in your pursuit of it," had they believed it to be a rare aberration.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:02 AM
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I agree with LB. I don't get the mechanics of how this happened for a recent decade. A parent brings a raped kid in, with information about several other rapes and some decent information about the rapists, and then... nothing? And that happens every few weeks? None of the parents ever call back? They do and get told what? that would make them drop the matter for another few years.

I don't understand the mindset, but I also don't understand the process. How did that actually drag on so long?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:02 AM
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62

Yeah. Protecting one powerful offender, obviously that happens, as in Penn State football. But this?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:02 AM
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63

60 is kind of what I was getting at with 19. When you are told something that horrific, it is very difficult not to reject it. Look at the Holocaust: if the British and US governments had been told "the German army in eastern Europe has imprisoned over 100 Jews without charge and shot or beaten to death around 60 of them" they would have had no problem believing it, even on very little evidence. But hundreds of thousands, or millions? It was literally unthinkable.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:05 AM
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61: I think part of what happened is that they got told (or figured out on their own) that the police could or would not protect their children from being injured or killed if they continued to complain; some of the stories talk about people leaving the area as the only solution. And again, I don't understand that -- it sounds like total disorder with packs of wild dogs eating people on the streets. Maybe I underestimate how common that sort of thing is, but it's really surprising to me.

Maybe I have my head


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:07 AM
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Well, it is either unthinkable or normal, for "those communities" or "that kind of kid."


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:07 AM
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61 -- I'm under the impression that many of the victims were in foster care, and other situations of low social leverage. For all the attention the race part of this is getting, the class part may be even worse.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:08 AM
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Last half-sentence there is an editing error -- not sure where the sentence was going.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:08 AM
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60 gets it right. Policing/reporting/investigation systems aren't set up well* to handle abuse that is genuinely pervasive and systemic. Also applicable to the college rape conversation.

*not saying that they couldn't ever be, just that they generally aren't, and that incentives get very different when the result of reporting the truth is "OMG this affects everything."

**and, worth noting that, somewhat shockingly, this seems to have been a *single* ring, even if a widespread one, which would have made it theoretically much easier to crack and shut down. Also agree that it would be surprising if at least some of the police weren't in on the crime.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:09 AM
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If it is common knowledge enough that parents tell their kids not to take taxis or that they have to move to Spain to save their kid, where's the expose on the way out (although that requires that they admit their kid got attacked)? Get to Spain and raise a fuss from there?


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:10 AM
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69: maybe worried about relatives still in the town?


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:13 AM
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Expose? What's that? I mean, there were already social welfare agencies making official presentations to the local government -- how much more exposed could it get?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:13 AM
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As in PA, it looks like they picked kids from troubled backgrounds. I'm puzzled why none of the monsters got killed in revenge. They're taxi drivers, a phone call to their dispatch from a throwaway phone should be enough to get the guy into a dark alley, and there's a tank of gas right there underneath him.

From Wikipedia, apparently the chief of police, Shaun Wright, was effective at covering up and at shutting down attempted action. Really a nightmarish story. Those poor kids.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:13 AM
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63: interestingly, even after the Red Army overran Majdanek and offered photographic proof of the holocaust, the Western Allies didn't believe it, dismissing the reports as overblown communist propaganda. In fairness, the Soviets were known to have fabricated evidence of atrocities (e.g. pinning the responsibility for the Katyn massacre on the Germans).


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:14 AM
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I realize I'm thousands of miles away and don't speak the language, but it seems to me that if the Conservatives can't take the Council on this they're politically inept or don't really want to.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:14 AM
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75

Wikipedia says this is one of the best seloing singles of all time.

If her daddy's rich take her out for a meal
If her daddy's poor just do what you feel

#notnews


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:17 AM
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I suspect / fear that when all the facts come out, some influential individuals in the police and local government will prove to have been complicit for reasons of blackmail.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:18 AM
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76: Or bribery? The scale of police non-response would seem to indicate that there had to be people higher up the food chain profiting by all this. (In general, what's described in that first article sounds like the activities of a large, well-coordinated organized crime network. It would be very surprising if they weren't paying people off.)

All of which is to say, Jesus.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:24 AM
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66, 75: Boy, I'm not seeing the 'what do you expect to happen to children from vulnerable backgrounds' cynicism here. I completely expect horrible things that happen to children from vulnerable backgrounds to never make it to the attention of the police. Once the police are aware, on this kind of scale, I'm still stunned.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:27 AM
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If her daddy's rich take her out for a meal
If her daddy's poor just do what you feel

Did you remember that because your earnest teenage self was repelled by it? Mine was, and by much else besides.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:35 AM
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77: don't ask for my back of the envelope math, but isn't bribery on that scale going to be too expensive to support with a prostitution and porn ring? I mean, it's one thing for the strip club owner to bribe the vice cop, but to buy an entire police force inclusive of the leadership? Even big time drug cartels struggle with that. That's why I lean toward blackmail. Of course, in some cases, the embarrassment wielded by the blackmailer is the fact that you took a bribe the first time, so there's that possibility.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:39 AM
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That seems like an unnecessarily horrific interpretation of that lyric. I always just thought it meant "you don't have to go out to a nice dinner with the non-rich girl, because you don't have to impress her, so just go for a walk on the beach or do something free."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:39 AM
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I remember McMartin. Been here before. If something is unbelievable*, I don't necessarily need to spend my time trying to explain how it could happen or change my worldview immediately.

I am not even skeptical, just patient and willing to suspend judgement possibly for a very long time.

*In many ways. If it could happen this easily and pervasively in Rotherdam, what must be happening in Manila and Sao Paulo?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:50 AM
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80: look, if you want the job as a porn-and-prostitution consultant, you'll have to walk us through your thought estimating process.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 11:53 AM
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I think it's absurd to conflate this case with McMartin. These are teens making accusations, not pre-school kids.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 12:01 PM
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Or Nigeria. Okay, maybe it, or something like it happens a lot.

I'll have to think about this. More than I already am.

But after I catalogue all my new celebrity pictures.

Just kidding, pointedly. Mostly.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 12:01 PM
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83: I can develop the numbers for your business plan, Mr. Tweety, but you'll need to pay full commercial rates.



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 12:03 PM
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Global warming can't wipe us off the earth fast enough. I'd buy you all Escalades if I could.

Anal Escalades, presumably.

Every once in a while I see someone freak out on fb for having read just sorta the wrong combination of horrible news stories on the same day and having a contained meltdown about it. Link #1 and another beheading, today is my day. Yes to the global warming.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 12:03 PM
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84: Like I said, I am not going to argue it. But don't ask me for a demonstration of loyalty and filiation.

Meanwhile, I'll think more broadly about man's inhumanity to women, and what can be done about it.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 12:08 PM
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86: but you'll need to pay full commercial rates IYKWIMAITYD.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 12:17 PM
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Well, these comments of yours are certainly weird and off-putting, bob.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 12:17 PM
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66, 72.

I don't buy the idea that the victims were all "troubled kids." The woman (now 25) interviewed by the NYT came from a stable middle-class-sounding home. The report from the Independent Inquiry said just over 1/3 of the children involved "were previously known to
services because of child protection and neglect." So that leaves two thirds who weren't.

This was classic grooming, predation, and intimidation. Yes, it's probably easier if those targeted are already at risk. I think suggesting that was generally true is just "othering" the victims.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 12:32 PM
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28: I'd buy you all Escalades if I could.

I'd like to buy an Escalade
Purely out of spite
Kill apple trees and human beings
And snow white turtle doves.

I'd like to teach the world to drive
In perfect enmity
I'd like to buy us SUVs
To fulfill our manifest destiny.

It''s the real thing, (CO2 is)
What the world needs today (carbon dioxide)
Is the real thing.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 12:33 PM
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So on this general subject, the California Leg. has just passed a bill requiring all colleges that receive state funds to adopt better disciplinary policies on sexual assault etc., revolving around the concept of affirmative consent. Text is here. In addition to affirmative consent, it also bans punishing complainants/witnesses in the same case except for egregious conduct.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 1:02 PM
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91 -- I don't mean to "other" the victim (and would consider 1/3 to be "many," especially if we add another 1/3 with other kinds of "low social leverage") but I don't doubt that among the police there was plenty of class-based othering going on. In addition to the corruption/blackmail etc.

1400 is a lot of people, and so there's going to be people from all over the spectrum, but one would think that there's a class line that an intelligent ring leader would want to stay below, so as to keep whatever corruption there was effective.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 1:16 PM
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93: That legislation strikes me as surprisingly clear and well-phrased. Especially in the description of affirmative consent and in the places it discusses alcohol.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 1:21 PM
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80: Given that they apparently -- partly -- were using the girls as currency (and oh God does even writing that make me want to vomit) in trade for other items such as guns, I'm guessing the prostitution and porn is only part of a larger picture. I should think one couldn't possibly blackmail enough people securely enough, and on a large enough scale, for that strategy alone to explain this.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 1:29 PM
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(Based of course on my voluminous knowledge of Mario Puzo novels, it's really not like I'm doing anything more than guessing.)


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 1:30 PM
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I agree that blackmail seems unlikely. What are they doing worse than covering up rape on a mass scale?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 1:56 PM
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What are they doing worse than covering up rape on a mass scale?

Participating in the rapes, maybe?

I'm not saying blackmail explains everything, just that I suspect that it is part of the story.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 2:17 PM
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7.last, 34 - don't you normally fix your spelling mistakes?


Posted by: asilon | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 3:35 PM
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Yeah, you have to figure the cops are benefiting in some way. Either by getting the porn, or participating in the rapes, or getting some other payoff. Hell, there's probably an underground network of Pakistani guys who are willing to pay a lot for videos of underage white girls being gang raped by East Asian guys. And you really only need to influence a few high-ranking officers for them to start giving orders in your benefit; the rest will fall in line to keep their jobs.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 4:31 PM
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Only sort of on topic, but I read a news story of a college student who was grabbed by some guys who tried to throw her in the trunk of their car, and only fled when her friends showed up, and here's how the police chief described what happened.

"It was an attempt to introduce themselves to her and when that seemed to fail it was a little bit more aggressive past that."

How well do you think that department does with accusations of sexual assault?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 4:36 PM
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This piece from Slate, Why Cops Don't Believe Rape Victims, is mildly interesting but mostly frustrating. We shouldn't need a new, fancy neurobiological explanation in order to believe rape victims.

Nevertheless:

In the past decade, neurobiology has evolved to explain why victims respond in ways that make it seem like they could be lying, even when they're not. Using imaging technology, scientists can identify which parts of the brain are activated when a person contemplates a traumatic memory such as sexual assault.
The brain's prefrontal cortex--which is key to decision-making and memory--often becomes temporarily impaired. The amygdala, known to encode emotional experiences, begins to dominate, triggering the release of stress hormones and helping to record particular fragments of sensory information....
This is why, experts say, sexual assault victims often can't give a linear account of an attack and instead focus on visceral sensory details like the smell of cologne or the sound of voices in the hallway. "That's simply because their brain has encoded it in this fragmented way," says David Lisak, a clinical psychologist and forensic consultant who trains civilian and military law enforcement to understand victim and offender behavior.
Lisak and Tremblay, also a consultant, teach an open-ended, narrative approach that elicits sensory details and allows a victim to describe the assault in her own words. This means asking questions about what she smelled, felt, or heard as a way of delicately gathering evidence that may corroborate her account. If, for example, she correctly identifies the rapist's cologne, Lisak says, that's a sign she can provide accurate recollections.
He remembers a case in which the victim's initial memory of her assault was cloudy, but when asked about sounds, she recalled hearing the assailant walking in her apartment. That triggered another memory of him talking on the phone to a car mechanic. She had enough details of the conversation to allow the police to find the mechanic, who confirmed that he spoke to the assailant.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 4:38 PM
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And not to make this the cops-lie-and-suck blog, but I'm so glad these stories are getting some attention. Young black guy is cuffed behind his back and in the back of a squad car, and somehow winds up shot. The cops and the coroner say it was a suicide. The buried lede.

The report does not explain why the initial police statement said White shot himself in the back. Officials declined to comment on why no weapon was discovered during the two recorded searches of White.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 4:39 PM
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I think 102 gets to the heart of the matter. Of course some/most of the cops knew about this, but they put it down to "some fast girls got in over their heads with the drink and the drugs and the sex, and now they want to complain about it". The cops don't see the grooming and what not -- they just come in at the point of "I was raped" and they ask "were you on any drugs" and if the answer is "yeah" -- boom, case closed, unreliable witness, probably deserved what she got, etc. etc.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 4:47 PM
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105. I can't imagine anyone who is not a psychopath thinking that about a 12 year old (or younger) girl. I guess I've lived a sheltered life.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 4:51 PM
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If she's got a womanly body, people don't process her as a 12 or 11 year old. Or if she's dressing and acting in ways they feel are too old for a 12 year old. "She got in over her head, but she was playing with fire".


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 4:57 PM
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Yeah, I mean the NYT story explicitly described a 12-year-old who reported sex with I think 5 adult men and the police chief(?) was 100% sure it was consensual.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 5:03 PM
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107: Yep. Really wonder whether this Texas story would ever have come to light without the video.

Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands -- known as the Quarters -- said the [11-year-old] victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 5:14 PM
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And of course girls who have been abused often try to act older and more in control of their sexuality, which leads to them being disbelieved, etc. Escalades, people. Do your part.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 5:19 PM
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105: Except that it makes no sense here, because the cops in question were being [i]handed a gold-plated opportunity to crack down on some darkies[/i]. It rings rather false to me that their impulse to dismiss the stories of underaged girls somehow just overrode that without help.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 5:19 PM
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111: Yeah, I think it's very likely that a number of factors were in play, but on a case-by-case basis, I think the victim-blaming aspect of it was probably quite important.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 5:24 PM
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My gut feeling is that as far as "don't mention they're Asian" thing goes, it's not PC-gone-mad. It will be that the Asian vote was seen as important and the people implicated were seen as controlling the Asian vote, so the Labour council didn't want to know.


Posted by: Keir | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 5:24 PM
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113 seems very very plausible as a local politics explanation.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 5:33 PM
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It's just important to note that whatever other reasons there are, and there are probably many, you can't go around raping a bunch of girls without a bedrock foundation of sexism in the larger community.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 5:40 PM
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I'm puzzled why none of the monsters got killed in revenge.

This is worth a volume or two,* but most of us are simply not up to the filthy labor--hiding, stabbing/shooting, getting bloody or bloodied oneself in an hysterical struggle--of murder, and, on balance, we are probably a lot better off this way. Which is why I get a bit eye-rolly about the Internet's many sub-genres of tough-guyism.

* No. I am not interested in the thoughts of William T. Vollman. De gustibus etc.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 6:55 PM
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Addendum to 116: Humanity is filth, to be sure. The seventh seal cannot be opened soon enough.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 6:56 PM
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115.last has been sticking with me, because where are we supposed to go where that's not pretty deep in the bedrock?


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 7:54 PM
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I was already depressed, you know.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 7:56 PM
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Me too, Flip, but then I realized I'd dropped a piece of chocolate into my cleavage without realizing and could still retrieve it. You probably don't even have that, just a bedrock of sexism!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 8:17 PM
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Is the bedrock made of chocolate?


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 8:37 PM
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I don't know. Sexism never sounded particularly delicious. Perhaps you should ask The New & Improved Spider-Free Teo & Smearcase Show to weigh in, because they're supposed to be awake now and I am not.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 8:42 PM
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Sexism: Not delicious at all.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 8:44 PM
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See? Comity!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 8:46 PM
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We may have to wait for the Smearcase vote to come in before we declare it officially, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 8:46 PM
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I'm Smearcase Lite, except in a weight sense, in which case I think I'm Smearcase Plus. Anyway, I count for 3/5 of a Smearcase vote or something.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 8:47 PM
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123 to 126.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 8:48 PM
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I was admittedly more delicious before removing the chocolate, if that's what you're trying to imply, good sir!


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 8:51 PM
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(Sorry, people, that I turned this of all threads into the t/S Show. Oops!)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 8:53 PM
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Less sexist, though.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 8:53 PM
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130 to 128. To 129, yeah, I would actually prefer to take the show to a different thread.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 8:54 PM
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I'm in bridesmaid dress hell, or maybe matron of honor hell. I got the recommended maternity bridesmaid dress and it is the worst fitting thing I've ever put on, and no, no, no. Finding a different dress that meets the not-crazy specs is making me crazy. I can't bring myself to spend $500 on a very pretty dress.

I might actually do a rent-a-swag move, but they make you wait until crunchtime, which is not my first choice.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 8:56 PM
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The theme song to the Smearcase and Teo show is just the itchy and scratchy song, right?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 8:58 PM
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131: You should do that! I have too much to say to the original stuff but all of it is not quite my story and besides I haven't read the whole report yet. But I do think in some ways the McMartin connection is apt. There's a tendency to say that it's much easier to believe a young person who's accusing a lot of abusers is just making things up rather than figure out how that sort of abuse actually works, which means pointing out all the ways the systems that are supposed to prevent that abuse failed. One bad child apple is much less threatening than a failed system, which I think is what we largely have. But I'll leave it at that, I think.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 8:58 PM
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133: Stay tuned for the exciting answer to appear on a different thread!


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:00 PM
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And not to make this the cops-lie-and-suck blog

Lately, I've had more than a couple "motherfuckers, what is wrong with you" moments directed at other people in the profession.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 9:55 PM
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I think you're a good cop in a good department. This stuff has always been alleged, but now that the press thinks it's a story, they're uncovering a lot of rot in a lot of places.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:04 PM
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Is Taser publicly traded? Because they may be about to sell a shitload of body cams if this kind of press keeps up.


Posted by: gswift | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:41 PM
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Yes, and it seems to be on a strong upward trend lately.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 2-14 10:53 PM
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138: are we allowed to tase cops back?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 2:48 AM
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I'd dropped a piece of chocolate into my cleavage

That's a hell of a cocktail you're mixing there, Thorn.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 4:26 AM
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hey gswift, I've been super-curious to hear more what you think about the second shooting in ferguson, of the mentally ill guy with the meager steak knife. I hear a lot of people defending it as basically "a good shoot" but I see a dude who's admittedly nuts--but ordinary citizens are walking by him ok--and then 20 seconds after the cops show up he's 12 kinds of dead. no ones eager to get stabbed, but really? cops couldn't both have gone to the other side of the SUV? I know you talked about it briefly in response to the cracked.com article, but you were irritated already. and drunk. NTTAWWT. it would be an awesome post if you told us what you would do and why this was or wasn't sensible and doesn't anybody mercilessly beat anybody down with a nightstick anymore in these new-fangled times. y'all must get bored of being compared to peel's bobbies but when that nut beheaded someone with a fucking machete they did just jog over and whale on him with truncheons quite effectively. email me at realfirstname.reallastname@gmail.com? or email the heebster?
as to the OP, fuck everything. I can't even think of anything this bad going down while the cops...participate....? except in implausibly thrilling and unpleasant police procedurals. I don't even understand how this could happen. FUCK ALL THESE MOTHERFUCKERS. I am taking my daughters and going to my island redoubt guarded by exclusively female former IDF commandos, as halford has suggested in the past.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 4:52 AM
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The horrible thing about Rotherham -- I asked at the le\ead\er meeting to discuss it whether we thought this was a phenomenon unique to Rotherham (and Rochdale) or whether it was going on all over the country where there are networks of Pakistani taxi drivers, and the consensus was that it happens everywhere.

I do believe it is more class-based contempt for the victims -- and indeed for th epowerless gnerally -- than "political correctness"; but also that the "Asian" vote in a town like Rotherham is in gift of two or three big families who will have made it entirely clear that they don't want a scandal, and the Labour party machine which runs them (see also Bradford) is utterly corrupt. So not PC, but knowing which way the wind blows.

With all that said, there is a fatuous and vicious element on the Left here in knifecrimea which would rather say or believe anything than concede that the Daily Mail might be right about something. And that leads to some shameful silliness.

But while it's undoubtedly true that there were graundia hacks who responded to any criticism of "Asian" (ie pakistani muslim) criminals with cries of "racism", I don't think that this was terribly influential in the thought processes, such as they were, of the council and the cops. Those look to me just like a presumption of invulnerability.

And not all of us were in fact guilty. Some years back, Nick Davies published a horrible and well-publicised series on life among the underclass, called "The Dark Heart" -- I remember in particular a ghastly story of a white middle-class woman whose cocaine habit betrayed her into the power of her black working class dealer, whose gang put her on the streets to pay off her debts-- but this was widely ignored as an example of graundia miserablism. There are parts of knifecrimea where the dogs might as well eat children in the streets.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 5:35 AM
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141: That may have been the same nightgown, in fact! I think it just highlights when anything does fall, which is not all that common because I'm not a complete slob. Maybe in the bourbon situation I was.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 5:40 AM
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the "Asian" vote in a town like Rotherham is in gift of two or three big families who will have made it entirely clear that they don't want a scandal, and the Labour party machine which runs them (see also Bradford) is utterly corrupt.

One of the really interesting things about "Pakistan: A Hard Country" (very good by the way) is the occasional sidenote on the continuing extremely strong links - social, familial, commercial and political - between Pakistani-British communities in the UK and the mother country.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 5:43 AM
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whether we thought this was a phenomenon unique to Rotherham (and Rochdale) or whether it was going on all over the country where there are networks of Pakistani taxi drivers, and the consensus was that it happens everywhere.

Oh jesus christ.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 5:48 AM
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Yes. That's hugely important: there is actually a Pakistani political party which has an office in Bradford, and a large part of George Galloway's victory in the by election there was explained to me as a revolt against the clan elders (who had all been co-opted into the Labour machine) by a younger generation.

Those were also the networks through which the "Trojan Horse" stuff was spread. It's a pretty Sicilian form of social organisation, irrespective of religion.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 5:50 AM
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147 to 145.

146 there have been similar cases in Burnley and Oxford at least.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 5:51 AM
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146: the Mayor of London's office has been running a massive publicity campaign for the last decade or so warning people not to take unlicensed minicabs because of a high risk of sexual assault. Posters in bars, leaflets, etc.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 5:56 AM
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There are parts of knifecrimea where the dogs might as well eat children in the streets.

I'm not trying to be chauvinistically obnoxious here, but the reaction I'm having is that this is not a plausible story in America. Social services not protecting children from abuse and neglect within their families, yes. Children and teens who are living without adult protection (runaways, kids who have been thrown out by their parents) being preyed on, yes. Straightforward violence against poor children and poor people generally, yes. But this kind of organized exploitation of people with at least some resources to combat it seems impossible here.

Am I living in a fantasy world, or is there a real difference here, and if I'm right about the difference, why?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 5:57 AM
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147: continuing pressure to marry girls from the old country rather than suspiciously Westernised Pakistani-British girls or, god forbid, white girls, is a big part of it. The British branch of the family is a useful asset in the clan-alliance game that's marriage in a lot of Pakistan.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 5:59 AM
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I'm not trying to be chauvinistically obnoxious here, but the reaction I'm having is that this is not a plausible story in America.

I think there is a version of this story in existence in the US, but the girls are either trafficked from foreign countries, or removed from their homes and the parents consider them runaways. What struck me as most implausibly-American was that the girls lived at home for years and years during all this.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:03 AM
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Well, yeah. Once you have an underage kid with no adult family in the picture, or where the adult family is the problem, I'd believe anything. But once there was any marginally competent well-meaning adult involved who was on any level aware of what was going on, I cannot imagine this happening.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:06 AM
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I don't know about 152. "Home" can mean being passed around among relatives and so on. I don't think it's as true as people think that children being trafficked in the US are runaways or in foster care already, though I also don't remember where I most recently read stats on this.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:07 AM
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Maybe we have a culture more that requires "marginally competent" to mean "haul your unhappy kid to doctors and therapists until someone figures it out or the kid turns 18" and the UK doesn't? A kid can certainly hide why they're unhappy, but a lot of kids don't want to hide it, they're just scared.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:09 AM
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Maybe we have a culture more that requires "marginally competent" to mean "haul your unhappy kid to doctors and therapists until someone figures it out or the kid turns 18" and the UK doesn't?

Again, for poor people I disagree. Having to take Nia through the regular poor-people-therapy machine here showed me how much work it took to get a therapist who stuck around for more than a month, and the place was only open during school hours anyway, which is not ideal for kids who presumably have struggles beyond what got them into therapy. If one of the girls' older sisters or cousins was being moody or depressed, I'm not convinced therapy would be the family's first or obvious choice. Church, maybe, but more likely it would be about the countdown to 18 and probably sending the teen to live with a dad or aunt or whatever if the fighting between parent/guardian and teen was getting intolerable.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:22 AM
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Eh, I can definitely think of families I knew growing up where the children could have been in that situation and the parents wouldn't have noticed (or cared in some cases). We certainly know US law enforcement is capable of overlooking horrors committed by well-connected community members. The sheer scale is what I find boggling. You'd think with that many victims, some motivated parent would have hired investigators and attorneys.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:25 AM
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I do think there are somewhat different norms about teen sex and teen drinking that may come into play as differences between the US and UK, but I think poor people in both contexts are going to be skeptical about getting social services involved when it might mean losing other children/benefits/privacy because of it, not to mention in both cases an expectation of not being believed.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:25 AM
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But the Rotherdam situation is 2/3 girls that aren't from poor backgrounds.

(And based on the extremely flimsy anecdata of my local mother's group, the poor mothers are super concerned about trying to access support services, at least. There are constantly people posting "My kid has X illness or behavior, and I've done or been stymied in doing these 26 things...what next?" and all the parents who seem to face big financial obstacles are kicking in their two cents. Half the time it's stupid woo, but they are all trying so hard to do right by their kids.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:26 AM
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The sheer scale is what I find boggling. You'd think with that many victims, some motivated parent would have hired investigators and attorneys.

Well, I think this is exactly what LB is getting at - the sheer scale somehow seems implausible in the US. (And more so if Rotherdam is the tip of the iceberg.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:28 AM
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What struck me as most implausibly-American was that the girls lived at home for years and years during all this.

I would like to believe that this is true, but America has seen several decades of Catholic parishioners disbelieving, overlooking or missing what was occurring to their children who were still living at home, to say nothing of the children of other parents in the same churches.

A signal difference between Rotherham and similar cases in the U.S. (e.g., Penn State) might be the absence of a central actor who cultivated, then betrayed, the community's trust; the community doesn't seem to have cared enough about its poor children to necessitate the effort.

I reiterate: Humanity is filth.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:30 AM
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159.2 is very true for little kids, but I'm not sure how much that extends to teens. (And I'm not saying poor parents are bad parents and don't believe that.) And I thought it was 2/3 and 1/3 in the other direction, not that it necessarily matters much.

My parents didn't want to believe I could have been in an abusive relationship and so they explained it away and are still at least facebook-friendly with the perpetrator because it's easier to believe that I lied for years about being okay than that I didn't trust them enough to tell them the truth because I didn't think they'd support me, even though I've told them the truth and they didn't support me. And I was a legal adult at the time of all that. Others here have told stories of abuse getting overlooked and explained away in middle-class homes. It definitely happens.

I agree that the scale and scope of this case are mind-boggling, but some of the details carry over closer to home.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:30 AM
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Do national park rangers wear body cams now? I interacted with one briefly last weekend, and he had a piece of equipment on his chest that very much looked like one.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:30 AM
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150: But this kind of organized exploitation of people with at least some resources to combat it seems impossible here.

As Flippanter says: the Roman Catholic Church.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:35 AM
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I'm not going to argue too much, but the fact that the Catholic Church involved boys being raped by men, which added a very different layer of secrecy.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:37 AM
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Anyway, it sounds like here, the parents did believe their girls, at least enough of them, and had no avenues to get anyone to do anything, and so they just sort of endured. All the American stories rely on indifferent parents.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:38 AM
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(I mean, there are other crimes where the parents know what's going on, hate it, and just sort of endure. I'm not saying that we're virtuouser than thou.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:40 AM
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164: And the networks of people (mostly men, I assume, because men are filth) who create, collect and exchange images of sexual abuse. Authorities keep rolling up those networks but they never seem to end.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:40 AM
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161: I know but the number of perpetrators was so much smaller in the catholic parish case--even if it were 5 priests in a small place it would be nothing compared to this number of people and the variety of victims. if this is the tip of the iceberg or something I'm going to be sick.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:40 AM
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the number of perpetrators was so much smaller in the catholic parish case

Really??? I was under the impression that it was pretty widespread.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:45 AM
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168: (mostly men, I assume, because men are filth)

SOMETIMES I FEEL PARANOID ABOUT Y'ALL NOT THAT IT'S ANYTHING PERSONAL, SOME OF MY BEST FRIENDS ARE MEN, REALLY, WE'LL JUST BE OVER HERE WITH THESE COMMANDOS, SORT OF, AT THE SIDE.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:47 AM
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169: I think this is the sort of story that won't get less sick-making as details come out.

170: Yeah, me too, but I can't say I recall any numbers.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:50 AM
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170: that was poorly put; I just meant that in any given parish or even area with several parishes I would think the number of men committing the crimes was much lower in proportion to the total male population.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:51 AM
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171: I do not challenge that. From time to time one wonders whether the Big J's infinite mercy™ isn't a bit too generous.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 6:56 AM
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Durrrrevil migraine and iPad vanquish me. I mean, than the number of rapists/child-prostitution ringleaders in proportion to the relevant male population in this case. but its not as if I don't think there were many thousands of child-raping priests, and I don't really have any particular number to deem "the relevant" in this case, so probably I shouldn't think anything.


Posted by: alameida | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 7:04 AM
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Is there a reason people keep writing "Rotherdam"? Is it a pun? Like "Mississippi Goddam" or something?


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 7:13 AM
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Right. Again, I'm not saying that children aren't raped and exploited in the US, but the Penn State and Catholic church stories I know are individuals secretly raping and molesting children, and then people in power covering up after the fact and failing to protect possible future victims. But a situation where there are victims currently being exploited, and responsible adults are aware, and they are unable to bring the situation to an end and protect the current victims they know about? That's what seems inconceivable.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 7:18 AM
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176: No, Heebie typoed it in the OP, hasn't fixed it yet, and people are picking up her misspelling. I forgot to fix it when I got home last night and had access to the back of the site again.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 7:19 AM
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My old MP, Ann Cryer, has things to say. With a special guest appearance by the News of the World, as if there wasn't enough depravity already.


Posted by: Alex | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 7:20 AM
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Does the UK* generally lag behind the US w/r/t to investigation and prosecution of sexual abuse? We are pretty crappy ourselves as a rule, but I read quite a bit about the Jimmy Savile "scandal" and [incoherent rage and horror].

* "Knifecrime Island" is funny, but not quite fit for the context.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 7:28 AM
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179 is painful but powerful. Key paragraph:

Desperate for community tensions not to be inflamed by tabloid reporting, she persuaded Channel 4 News to produce a report. In 2004, five of the 35 men were sent to prison. Cryer said male colleagues in parliament privately congratulated her on her courage. She wouldn't name names, but said: "What male MPs from similar areas to Bradford and Keighley would say to me from time to time was, 'Oh, you're so brave taking up these issues' - either forced marriages or grooming of girls. I would think, 'Well, it wouldn't need so much bravery if people like you would support me.' "

Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 7:30 AM
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That paragraph and also this:

Cryer's battle began when seven mothers came to her to claim that their daughters had been groomed by young men from the Pakistani community. "They said the girls were being used for sex by them and handed around - not as prostitutes, but were being handed around the families of these lads. This was underage sex. These girls were well below 16. The mothers said, 'We understand it's a criminal offence even if it's consensual', which I said was quite right. And they said to me, 'Why is it that West Yorkshire police won't do anything about it, social services won't do anything about it, when we have given them the names and addresses of the men abusing our daughters?' "

Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 7:33 AM
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I assume that the Spectator, Christopher Hitchens' brother, Theodore Dalrymple, etc., are having a charming field day with this.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 7:38 AM
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158: I do think there are somewhat different norms about teen sex and teen drinking that may come into play as differences between the US and UK

True. Half of all British people have "consensual" sex for the first time before the age of consent (16). The reaction to this has not been that we must lock up half of our entire population, but that it is not worth treating every case of under-age sex as a serious crime. I don't think that's the case in the US, at least not to the same extent.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 7:39 AM
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Yeah, that, and maybe less tolerance of age differences in underage sex as well? The way the stories are being told, the girls were initially groomed by 'boys'. It is not clear from anything I've read, but I'm assuming (maybe wrongly) that what the stories mean is that 11-14 year-old girls were being groomed by, say, 18-20 year-old 'boys'. And I think that would set off red flags in the US that maybe it didn't in the UK -- that here, two 14-year-olds having sex might seem like something the parents would disapprove of, but really not a police matter except in weird circumstances, but with more than a year or two between the partners people get tense about it fairly quickly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 7:49 AM
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Relevant:

http://denis1883.wordpress.com/2014/02/05/women/


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 7:51 AM
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with more than a year or two between the partners people get tense about it fairly quickly.

See, for example, "Romeo and Juliet".


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 7:53 AM
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Those quotes in that article from the politicians regretting THEIR OWN political correctness and squishy liberalness are really something. Nothing like that would EVER be heard from a US politician. If you see a politician ignoring corruption and crime among his own constituency, it's a politician who emerged from that constituency and identifies with it. Not some well-meaning guy who was parachuted in by the party and says "Oh, hi everyone, you seem exotic and interesting. Vote for me."


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 8:01 AM
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That sort of age difference, for underage girls, really is something I get puritanical about. It's a norm here too, but I think less so -- more, dating across a grade or two in high school. And I don't think it'd ever be unlikely for same-age kids to be involved with each other here, as the misogynist you link to in 186 implies. But to the extent that it's a norm at all, I think it facilitates bullying and unhealthy relationship patterns even where nothing grossly abusive is happening, and makes grossly abusive situations much easier to fall into.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 8:03 AM
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I think at my high school it was the norm for kids to go out with kids roughly their own age. Within a year or so. However, there was always a minority of the girls who went out with much older 'boys'. I couldn't put a percentage on it. It wasn't anything like a majority, or even half. Despite the implicit claims in the blog post ajay linked to. But there was definitely more than a few.

I'm talking of girls aged 14-16 going out with 'boys' aged 18 - 20, I suppose. I think a 20-something going out with someone still at school would have seemed creepy. But, once, when I was at university, we were having one of those frank drunk discussions in a mixed sex group, and of the smallish group of women present [5 or 6, maybe?], two had first had sex aged about 14, with their boyfriend, who was 19.

That seemed creepy to me even at the time, but I don't think either of the girls in question thought anything of it.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 8:12 AM
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189 sounds reasonable and my impression is that the acceptable range might be a bit wider in the UK, at least to some people- not 12-18, but 15-17, maybe 14-17? So the age range in the Rotherham situation was only slightly outside normal.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 8:13 AM
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186 linked more as evidence of a mindset/attitude rather than definite statistical proof.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 8:14 AM
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And, for what it's worth, as a different data point, when I was 17-18,* I had a succession of older girlfriends [as in 3 - 7 years older than me]. Not so common for the age gap to go that way. Younger male, older female. But I wasn't the only person in my wider circle of male friends who had an older girlfriend.

So maybe there is somewhat wider acceptance of a slightly wider age range around teenage relationships? Within limits.

* I wasn't actually in school. I left school at 16. But I could theoretically have been, I suppose.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 8:19 AM
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I think it's relevant that a place like Rotherham is economically pretty deep rust belt. The textiel industry, which is what brought the first immigrants over, has gone. Nothing much has replaced it. And in some of the former mining villages we now have three generations of unemployment. It breeds a lot of hopelesness.

As to the "this could never happen in the US" -- that was not exactly the impression I got from watching the Wire.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 9:21 AM
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The exploited kids I remember from the Wire were exactly those living without functional adults. Although I watched it years ago, so I'm probably forgetting something. And I never watched the last season, but I think that was about newspapers, so mostly not kids.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 9:29 AM
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Oh, huh, I didn't notice that it was a typo until now. That explains the earworm.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 9:32 AM
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A big part of the issue seems to have been a decision to let a locally politically connected, culturally foreign immigrant group be effectively self-governing and negotiate a collective response to the police and city officials. We do have that in the US (one thinks of eg Chinese groups in San Francisco, or maybe Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn, powerful communities I can think of with lower level but largely uninvestigated scandals), and certainly had more of it in the past, but generally speaking I can't see law enforcement not getting involved immediately once things started to involve people *outside* the immigrant community, and it's also hard to see them not getting involved in child rape on this scale (both number of perpetrators and victims). Whether this is due to different experiences with sexual mores or much longer experience with immigrants and multiculturalism or more or different racism in the US I don't know.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 9:39 AM
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I never watched the last season
And you're better off for it, though it didn't really focus on the newspaper storyline much.


Posted by: Eggplant | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 9:41 AM
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197: Yes, I thought the same thing -- that I wouldn't have been nearly so surprised by sexual exploitation of minors treated as an internal community problem and ignored by the police, so long as the perpetrators and victims were members of the same community. (Although the example I'm most familiar with, the NY Hasidic community, was again nothing like this for scale as far as I can tell -- much more covering up for individual malefactors after the fact rather than colluding with wholesale, almost openly accepted, exploitation).


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 9:44 AM
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It's hard to imagine American police not relishing the chance to eviscerate a non-white community.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 10:14 AM
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Oh, ignoring a non-white community is also perfectly in character. But again, not at this scale, and not for crimes reaching outside the community.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 10:16 AM
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But the victims weren't non-white.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 10:19 AM
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202 before reading all the way to the end of 201. Because my attention span isn't ... hey that guy looks like Alan Alda.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 10:20 AM
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It's hard to imagine American police not relishing the chance to eviscerate a non-white community.

Apparently in Britain there really is a culture in government - police, even! - of not wanting to do things to offend minority groups, because of fear of being called racist. I thought that sort of "political correctness" was a myth everywhere.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 10:22 AM
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204 -- probably wouldn't use the word "racist," but it's really not that different from a lot of local reaction in big city US to locally powerful, tight-knit immigrant groups


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 10:31 AM
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I remember at the time this story first started appearing in the press, some of the press did imply that people raising it were massive racists. So being concerned about being painted as a racist wasn't an empty concern. It's still an absurd state of affairs that someone would let serious crimes slide on a massive scale because of a fear of appearing racist.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 10:39 AM
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Fear of being called racist cannot possibly explain the cops disappearing bags of evidence. Nor is British law enforcement exactly known for its multiculturalism. "Political correctness" plus incompetence, inertia and cowardice is something one could potentially believe of the civilian Council staff, but I still can't help feeling there surely have to have been some just outright dirty cops and officials in the loop for this to have played out as it did, on the scale it did, for as long as it did.


Posted by: Lord Castock | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 10:48 AM
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re: 207

Sure, that sounds entirely plausible. I can see the 'political correctness' angle playing a role in stifling some people who might otherwise be likely to hold the police or other agencies to account, but not really as being likely to prevent police action.

Italso swings the other way, too, of course. The right-wing press jumped on the story pretty enthusiastically when it first surfaced.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 10:54 AM
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207 seems accurate to me. Buying a few cops is organized crime SOP.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 10:59 AM
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Buying a few cops is fine as an explanation for a particular jurisdiction, but if this sort of thing is as pervasive as implied by Knifecrimeans above, then there's a whole lot else going on.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 11:31 AM
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I have no meaningful insight to add except that it reminded me, a bit, of "My Son the Fanatic" in as much as locally institutionalized rape of poor teenagers often co-exists with locally mafia'd up prostitution, and there's that same sort of nausea-inducing sense of everyone being caught up in a cauldron of dysfunction and exploitation and marginalization, and some people react to being trapped with extreme cruelty and evil, and others are just trapped. I find it hard to believe that straight-up political correctness played a very strong role without the much stronger incentives of good old fashioned gangsterism, corruption, bribery, and use of insularity as a cloak of confusion a la Chinatown.


Posted by: Ile | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 1:41 PM
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Do national park rangers wear body cams now? I interacted with one briefly last weekend, and he had a piece of equipment on his chest that very much looked like one.

It's quite possible that law enforcement rangers do, at least in some parks. I just took at look at the NPS law enforcement manual and it doesn't seem to say anything about body cams, which implies that there's no agency-wide policy and it's probably up to the individual park superintendent. I suspect the parks that would use them are the ones that deal with the most crime, i.e., the ones in major metropolitan areas and the ones with very high visitation numbers. All law enforcement rangers are commissioned police officers, but the smaller and more isolated parks (like Chaco!) don't get much crime so the rangers there mostly do stuff other than standard police work. Big, popular parks and parks in urban areas are a different story and need many more rangers just to handle their law enforcement needs.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 09- 3-14 10:01 PM
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207 makes sense. I think it all depends on how much pressure the council was in a position to put on the police. Locally responsive government, policing by consent, devolution of powers, all these things sound great but this or Ferguson is an example of how they go badly wrong.
Also, the people who are most likely to be susceptible to institutional pressure "not to be racist" are - ta da! - the people whose actual job was the protection of vulnerable children.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 09- 4-14 2:12 AM
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