Thursday, April 02, 2009

The Precarious World of Teenagers!

*******
*******
Pupils told: Sex every day keeps the GP awayJack Grimston From The Sunday Times
July 12, 2009
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/education/article6689953.ece
A National Health Service leaflet is advising school pupils that they have a “right” to an enjoyable sex life and that regular intercourse can be good for their cardiovascular health.
The advice appears in guidance circulated to parents, teachers and youth workers, and is intended to update sex education by telling pupils about the benefits of sexual pleasure. For too long, say its authors, experts have concentrated on the need for “safe sex” and loving relationships while ignoring the main reason that many people have sex, that is, for enjoyment.
The document, called Pleasure, has been drawn up by NHS Sheffield, although it is also being circulated outside the city.
Alongside the slogan “an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away”, it says: “Health promotion experts advocate five portions of fruit and veg a day and 30 minutes’ physical activity three times a week. What about sex or masturbation twice a week?”
Steve Slack, director of the Centre for HIV and Sexual Health at NHS Sheffield, who is one of the authors, argues that, far from promoting teenage sex, it could encourage young people to delay losing their virginity until they are sure they will enjoy the experience.
Slack believes that as long as teenagers are fully informed about sex and are making their decisions free of peer pressure and as part of a caring relationship, they have as much right as an adult to a good sex life.
Anthony Seldon, master of Wellington College, Berkshire, who introduced classes in emotional wellbeing, said the approach was “deplorable”.
*******
36 Chicago area students killed sets recordBy Andrea Billups
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
http://washingtontimes.com/news/2009/may/13/record-36-students-killed-this-school-year-across-/
Chicago - busy putting on its best face to garner a 2016 Olympics bid and basking in the afterglow of President Obama's election - has become the nation's most violent city for youths.
With three weeks left before summer break, a record 36 Chicago Public Schools students have been killed this school year, marking the third straight year that youth homicides have climbed into double digits. Chicago has surpassed New York City and Los Angeles for having the highest youth homicide rate in the nation.
"I think people in Chicago have almost gotten numb to the statistics," said Dexter Voisin, a researcher at the University of Chicago who studies the impact of violence on adolescents.
The latest victim in Chicago's long year of student killings is 15-year-old Alex Arellano. On May 1, he was chased, beaten with baseball bats, run over by a car, shot and burned. His body was found days after he disappeared from his family's home on the city's South Side.
Police continue to investigate the killing; gang activity has been suggested. His grieving family members have denied any gang connections and continue to look for answers.
"The homicide rate is just the tip of the iceberg," Mr. Voisin said. "Those with nonfatal injuries are almost 100 times that of our homicide rates. You think for about every one kid who is murdered, 100 kids witness the murder or are victims of nonfatal injuries, of robberies, muggings and gang-related incidents. A lot of times, this exposure goes undocumented or unreported."
Black youths, he said, are two times more likely than white youths to fail or drop out of school, and at the same time they are also eight to 10 times more likely to be victims of homicide than whites.
"It's difficult for young people to focus in school if they are traumatized by the stress in these communities," Mr. Voisin said.
The death toll exasperates those offering hope to troubled neighborhood children in Chicago - an increasingly tall task in impoverished areas where gangs, drugs and guns are right outside their doors.
"I don't even know where to begin," said Diane Latiker, who runs a program for at-risk youths out of her home in the city's Roseland neighborhood. "There aren't any words for what I feel for what is going on for our youth."
Ms. Latiker uses three rooms of her six-room apartment to run a nonprofit program called Kids Off the Block. She offers tutoring, mentoring and travel opportunities designed to show Chicago youths who want successful futures that the violent culture they see daily is not the norm.
The local drug dealer in a big car with flashy rims, wearing cool sneakers, appears to many to be the model of success, Ms. Latiker said.
"The A and B students, they have family and community support," she said. "What about the kid who is struggling, hanging out there on the street corner and joining that gang because he feels hopeless? That's what I'm hearing from our youth. They feel they have nothing to live for."
Chicago Police Department spokesman Roderick Drew said youth violence remains a top priority.
"Even one murder is one too many," he said.
In April, Chicago police joined school officials to announce the expansion of a program that allows students to anonymously text-message tips about violence. The "Txt2Tip" program, piloted in 10 schools, will be available to students citywide.
The police department, led by Superintendent Jody Weiss, also recommitted to strict enforcement of a curfew that requires children 16 and younger to be inside by 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and by 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Last month, police said they also were adding a third Mobile Strike Force company. Its 50 officers and supervisors would allow police to respond rapidly to emergencies in neighborhoods.
Police said that in two areas where the strike force is employed, the homicide rate has fallen by 30 percent.
Chicago's homicide rate is down nearly 21 percent. Violent incidents at schools are on the decline, thanks in part to zero-tolerance policies on weapons and assaults in and around campuses. Schools also have employed cameras, metal detectors and more security guards to keep watch on classes.
Last year, 27 students were killed during the school year, but all of those crimes took place off campus.
"I'm very troubled that we are not doing everything we possibly can to stop this violence," Ms. Latiker said. "We need to go to our young people and find out what is going on. We need to know why so many feel that they have to have guns to survive. In the civil rights movement, we mobilized to do something ... nationwide. Why are we not doing the same thing now?"
Ron Huberman, chief executive of the Chicago school system, has met with Mr. Weiss to discuss ways that the schools and police can join forces to help stem the violence.
One neighborhood police leader has sponsored forgiveness seminars designed to teach adults from the community that a culture of retribution reinforces youth crime. He teamed up with local ministers who have agreed that force hasn't worked but that changing hearts and minds might be worth a try.
Mayor Richard Daley, Mr. Weiss and Mr. Huberman attended a candlelight vigil recently, hosted by Ms. Latiker's group at a vacant lot across the street from her home. She and members of Kids Off the Block are putting up small gravestones to honor each student who has died in Chicago violence.
Among those speaking at the event was the father of Blair Holt, a 16-year-old slain last year as he tried to protect a girl on a city bus. He appealed to those attending not to take revenge, Ms. Latiker said, because the deaths would be in vain.
The Kids Off the Block program began in 2003 with 10 children and now has 259 signed up. Ms. Latiker said she knows she could take in many more and is hoping for a bigger place to expand.
"I don't put the blame on one group or segment here," she said. "I put the blame on everyone, because that is the way it should be - on our community leaders, parents, churches, schools, the police department. ... We all have to work together here if any of this is going to get better."
*******
Canadian Parents Fooled Into Raising ProstitutesConsensual living, Teen girls trading sex for favours
By Warner Todd Huston
Thursday, April 2, 2009
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/9870
Canada, oh Canada. What the heck happened to ya? I suppose it is nothing more mundane than that our northern neighbor has succumbed to the same sort of nihilism that western culture in general is slouching toward. Two recent stories in the Canadian press could not illustrate better the depths being plumbed by Canadian society—and by extension our own.
The first purports to be parenting advice perpetrated on Canada by one Adriana Barton of the Globe and Mail. In this woeful homage to the newest sort of Dr. Spokian abdication of parenting, Barton tells Canadian parents that “consensual living” is a far better way to rear a child than exerting parental authority.
After reading Barton’s piece, though, one gets the distinct feeling that this “new” idea of “consensual living” allows willful children to control the parent. It is “non-hierarchical”—meaning the parents have no authority, apparently—and is supposedly based upon “understanding each other’s feelings,” trumpets Barton.
Does your child want to wear a Halloween cat costume day and night? So be it, let the young’un have her fun. Is your child throwing a temper tantrum about having to go to an appointment with a parent? Heck, let the child have his way and cancel that darned ol’ appointment. Don’t be cross with little Jimmie. He’s a fine boy no matter what. Why, he needs that ever more enshrined self-esteem to be built up, don’tcha know? The concept seems to push the idea that parents should bend over backward for the child and work their entire lives around the child’s druthers. Indulgent. Hypersensitive. Cloying. Just the sort of stuff made for that parent too busy to actually get involved with their child’s life, but want to feel like they are real parents anyway.
Sadly, this claptrap was spawned in 2006 by a group of families in North Carolina. Barton assures us that the idea has been “gaining ground in alternative parenting communities and online.” Yeah, I found out Elvis is still alive online, too.
Now juxtapose that story with one that appeared in the The Edmonton Sun penned by Andrew Hanon. To any sensible parent the headline to this story seems to be the ultimate, logical outcome of the “consensual living” style of parenting: Teen girls trading sex for favours.
Nice, huh?
In Hanon’s story we find Canadian girls as young as 12 willingly prostituting themselves to men in their 40s for nothing else so prosaic as $40 to go shopping with. The story details the appalling trend of middle-class girls trading sex for money, drugs, and luxury goods.
And worse, there doesn’t seem to be any sense among these young children prostituting their bodies that they’ve done anything wrong.
Police were horrified to realize many of the girls were angry with them for shutting off the cash flow.
One girl told Azam, “We told the police that they never forced us to have sex. They didn’t need to because they could always find other girls to do it..."

So, these many young girls are getting their fancy handbags, electronics or suddenly coming home with wads of cash and what are the parents doing? Do these purported adults have even the first bit of curiosity about where their little girls are getting all these products? Do they have any questions at all about where the money is coming from?
Now, officials have noted the climbing rates of sexually transmitted diseases in the USA for several years. Recently, reports about the highest rates of chlamydia ever recorded made the news detailing the fact that women are finding a three times higher rate of contracting the disease than men. These diseases can have far reaching effects for girls. Without treatment girls can find themselves becoming sterile. Chlamydia can be cured with antibiotics, though, but medical treatment must be administered quickly.
In any case, I’d hazard that many of these parents are about to “consensual living” their kids into a disease ridden, morally corrupt way of life that will destroy the coming generations of humanity, lay low our societies, and turn “living” into a hell that could so easily be avoided by a sensible return to tradition, religious tenet and cultural norms.
Oh Canada, Oh boy.
*******
Teen girls trading sex for favoursBy ANDREW HANON
The Edmonton Sun
April 1, 2009
http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2009/04/01/8959961-sun.html
EDMONTON -- Somewhere in the city, children as young as 11 and 12 are gathering in basements and playing intricate, graphic sex games.
I first heard about these parties a few years ago from my 12-year-old daughter, who said kids at her school played games where each girl had to perform oral sex on several boys.
Naively, I dismissed the story as another urban myth, like Pop Rocks causing heart attacks and maggots in milk-shake machines.
Turns out, these parties are very real and frighteningly commonplace.
Edmonton is featured in a new book and documentary DVD called Oral Sex is the New Goodnight Kiss by Sharlene Azam, where she explores "the growing phenomenon of middle-class girls trading sex for money, drugs and luxury goods."
Azam says hyper-sexualized popular culture and romanticizing gangsterism, combined with AWOL parenting, have created an atmosphere in which young teens view oral sex as nonchalantly as necking was seen a generation ago.
"It's in every school, even more in the suburbs," Azam said yesterday. And from there, they're just a small step away from prostitution.
One girl said that if she's already fellating two or three boys every weekend at parties, she might as well have sex with five or six and get paid for it.
Azam quotes one Edmonton 15-year-old who says, "I can work at KFC and make $100 a week, or I can make $400 a night for sex."
Often girls will agree to sex with older men in exchange for drugs or designer shoes, clothes and handbags, convincing themselves that because there's no money involved, it's not prostitution.
Azam recounts a case a few years ago where Edmonton police broke up a ring of up to 50 girls all from the same Edmonton high school, which she declined to name.
Police were horrified to realize many of the girls were angry with them for shutting off the cash flow.
One girl told Azam, "We told the police that they never forced us to have sex. They didn't need to because they could always find other girls to do it. There are also way more guys doing this than anyone can imagine."
None of the girls Azam interviewed said they were forced to do anything they didn't want to.
If the girls wanted money, they'd call a man named Luu Chi Dang and tell him that they wanted to work.
He'd pick them up and take them to one of three homes, where a dozen or so middle-aged men were waiting.
For each man the girls had sex with, they'd be paid $60. Dang got $40.
Said one girl: "I just had to lie there. The lights would always be off, and the few times it bothered me I would think that I could go get Boston Pizza after or something. The best part was getting paid. I did it for the money. It took 15 minutes and I would have $500."
Azam described Dang as a "really nice guy, very polite and deferential." He never recruited anyone. The girls took care of that.
"Most of the girls said they wanted to make money to go shopping. When their friends saw them shopping they would tell them, 'If you want to make money contact Luu' and I would hook it up," he told her.
Azam offers advice for parents who fear their girls are being sucked in. It's all common-sense stuff, like communicating, spending time with them and building up their esteem. She also reminds adults that they have a job to do.
"Don't be afraid to assert your authority... your daughter might not thank you for keeping track of her whereabouts, but it does not matter," she says. Azam adds: "The biggest problem is that parents aren't worried enough."
ANDREW.HANON@SUNMEDIA.CA
*******
Ladette binge-drinking violence soars by 300% in just seven years
By Simon Walters
01st March 2009
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1158182/Ladette-binge-drinking-violence-soars-300-just-seven-years.html
Violent attacks by binge-drinking teenage girls have risen by nearly 300 per cent in seven years in a frightening wave of ‘ladette’ violence.
And while more and more teenage girls are going on the rampage, criminal behaviour by teenage boys is on the decrease.
The extraordinary turnaround in teenage lawlessness emerges in figures that have been obtained by the highly respected Youth Justice Board.
It claims that new research suggests the number of violent offences against the person carried out by girls aged between ten and 17 has increased from 6,000 in 2001 to almost 23,000 last year.
Alcohol is one of the main factors: approximately one in three girls aged 15 to 16 admits that she binge-drinks.
Binge drinking: There has been a rise in teenage girls going on the rampage while criminal behaviour by teenage boys is reducing.
The total number of offences by girls aged ten to 17 resulting in court action in 2007/08 was 58,500, a ten per cent rise in two years.
Nearly four in ten crimes committed by girls involved violent assault. Nearly one in three involved handling stolen goods.
The girls with the worst record in the group are aged 15 and 16.
However, while the total number of offences by teenage boys is still much higher – 120,000 – the number has fallen by six per cent in the same period.
If the trends were to continue, the number of crimes by teenage girls could catch up with their male counterparts in four to five years.
These findings are from research conducted by the Youth Justice Board based on cases in 2007/08 which led to courts imposing a community or custodial sentence or a supervision order. It also included a MORI survey which asked young people how much they drink and whether they have broken the law.
In December, Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced a new alcohol offensive that would bar pubs and supermarkets from mounting ‘irresponsible’ promotions, with anyone in breach of the rules hit with up to six months in jail and a £20,000 fine.
However, a series of measures initially intended to be included in the offensive were shelved at the last minute amid fears that during a recession, responsible drinkers would object to plans to end cut-price, loss-leading deals such as happy hours.
Plans to put health warnings on alcohol labels, to raise the minimum age at which children can drink at home and proposed rules for supermarkets to have specific checkouts for alcohol sales were also shelved.
Ms Smith’s office said the Government was aiming for a ‘targeted approach’ rather than a ‘blanket ban’.
The word ‘ladette’, defined as a young woman who behaves in a boisterously assertive or crude manner and engages in heavy drinking sessions, entered the dictionary in 2001 after first emerging as a modern phenomenon in the mid-Nineties.
It was publicised and encouraged by the brash, tomboyish public behaviour of celebrities such as Radio 1 DJs Sara Cox and Zoe Ball, and has subsequently been given a boost by social networking sites like Facebook.
Hundreds of thousands of women have signed up to online forums where they boast about their antics and proudly post pictures showing them in various states of inebriation and undress, including kneeling over lavatories, being sick, exposing themselves or answering a call of nature in public.
*******
Gore to Children: Question Your Parents' Climate Beliefs as We Questioned Segregation
Audio aired on Glenn Beck's radio program has media-darling telling kids, 'there are some things about our world that you know that older people don't know.'By Jeff Poor
Business & Media Institute
Feb/4/2009 3:43:35 PM
http://www.businessandmedia.org/articles/2009/20090204144819.aspx
Imagine this – a former high-ranking and well-respected government official telling your children that they know something you don’t. Is this Cold War-era Soviet Union? Nope. It’s Maryland, and the official is former Vice President Al Gore.
In audio aired on the Feb. 4 “Glenn Beck Radio Program,” Gore was advising school children on the eve of the inauguration of President Barack Obama, presumably at the University of Maryland Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference. He said that it’s up to them to question their parents on conventional wisdom in order to overcome the challenges of modern America, one of them being global warming.
“But I’m thinking back a long way to when I was your age and the civil rights revolution was unfolding,” Gore said. “And we kids asked our parents and their generation, ‘Explain to me again why it’s OK for the law to officially discriminate against people because of their skin color?’ And parent’s try to tell their kids the right thing, you know? Usually, I do. And when our parent’s generation couldn’t answer that question, that’s when the law started to change.”
Gore’s solution to overcoming this – children, like the ones he was addressing on Jan. 19, should question their parents because according to him, this is an era of rapid change and children are the ones who will make it possible for society to adapt.
“There are some things about our world that you know that older people don’t know,” Gore continued. “Why would that be? Well, in a period of rapid change, the old assumptions sometimes just don’t work anymore because they’re out of date. New knowledge, new understandings are much more widely available, sometimes to young people who are in school who aren’t weighed down with the old flawed assumptions of the past.”
Gore also pointed to Galileo’s discovery of the earth revolving around the sun, as opposed to vice versa, as one of these new ideas that was accepted by younger people challenging conventional wisdom. According to the former vice president, these new ideas and ways of thinking would be instrumental in tackling three biggest threats he said that were facing our country – the economic crisis, the national security crisis and his pet issue – the climate crisis.
“The third crisis is one I talk about a lot – the climate crisis, global warming,” Gore continued. “What’s that all about? Most of you know what it’s all about, so I’m not going to dwell on it. But basically, because we’ve been relying so heavily on oil and coal, we’ve been burning larger and larger amounts of it in ways that pollute the atmosphere – not just of a city, not just of a region, but the entire world. And carbon dioxide, CO2, the principle global warming pollution, is different from the kind of pollution we’re used to thinking about.”
Gore reiterated that the old ideas of another generation must give way to those of a younger generation, and the issue of global warming was no exception.
“Today, Jan. 19, 2009 – we will put 70 million tons of this global warming pollution into the atmosphere,” he continued. “A lot of people think it’s OK. They go outside, they look up at the sky. The sky seems like a huge place. How could we possibly have any impact on it? Just like they used to go out on the ground and look at the sun rise in the East and set in the West and conclude that the sun went around the earth – they were wrong then, and anybody who thinks it is OK to put all this pollution up there is wrong today. We have to change it.”
“The entire North Polar Ice Cap is melting,” Gore continued. “The sea level is rising, the storms are getting stronger. You know the story. It has to be dealt with and you have to help us deal with it because you – you’re not encumbered with these old assumptions that it’s OK to put all the pollution up there.
Beck had his own reaction to the Goreacle’s philosophies, and explained them on his radio broadcast to his audience.
“’There are some things that you know that older people don’t know?’” Beck said. “That is – and I’m just getting started. That is one of the most incredible things I have ever heard. ‘There are some things that you know that older people don’t know.’ He is pitting the youth of this nation against their parents. We have a former vice president of the United States, a man who claims to have been President of the United States saying to the best and the brightest 12-year-olds that, ‘You know better than your parents,’ that ‘you don’t have to listen to your parents on things because they just don’t know.’”
Beck made his own analogies to past regimes and how they used youth to mold what was considered the mindset on issues of the day.
“I’m trying to think where else this has been done – Soviet Russia, Nazi, Germany, Mussolini’s Italy,” Beck said. “In fact, the Nazis took an extra step. Not only did they indoctrinate the kids and tell them you’re probably right, you know but your parents don’t; in fact, here’s the next step: Why don't you tell us what your parents are telling you. Are we having the new Hitler youth? Is that what this is? The new Hitler youth? I’m sorry, that’s so politically incorrect – the new green guard. Man your station, 12-year-olds, your parents just don’t know.”
*******
Teen girls made pact to get pregnant and raise their children togetherDaily News Staff
Thursday, June 19th 2008, 3:05 PM
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2008/06/19/2008-06-19_teen_girls_made_pact_to_get_pregnant_and.html
A group of teenage girls made a solemn pact - not to be friends forever, go to the prom together or try out for a sports team.
They agreed to get pregnant. And they kept their promise.
Seventeen girls at Gloucester High School in Massachusetts are expecting babies, Time.com first reported.
None of the mothers-to-be, who are planning to raise their babies together, are over age 16. One of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless man.
In a typical year, the school has about 4 pregnancies among its 1,200 students.
Schools Superintendent Christopher Farmer said the girls "lack self-esteem and have a lack of love in their life," in an interview with local news station WBZTV.
School officials discovered the pact after they noticed a spike in the number of girls requesting pregnancy tests at their health clinic.
"Some girls seemed more upset when they weren't pregnant than when they were," Joseph Sullivan, the school's principal, told Time.
A girl who had a baby during her freshman year and recently graduated from the school explained to the magazine her own theory about the unusual decision.
"They're so excited to finally have someone to love them unconditionally," Amanda Ireland, 18, said. "I try to explain it's hard to feel loved when an infant is screaming to be fed at 3 a.m."
The school, which encourages teenage mothers to stay in school with on-site day-care, is currently reviewing its policies on contraception and sex-education classes.
In response to the rash of pregnancies, the school’s nurse practitioner and medical director wanted to start distributing birth control without parental consent. After the town’s mayor protested, they quit.
*******
1 in 4 teen girls has an STD, study says
More than one in four teenage girls is infected with common sexually transmitted diseases
By Bob LaMendola
March 12, 2008
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/health/2004276232_std12.html
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — More than one in four teenage girls is infected with common sexually transmitted diseases, federal researchers reported Tuesday. Almost half of black teens were infected.
Young women ages 14 to 19 in "alarming" numbers are contracting human papilloma virus, chlamydia, genital herpes and trichomoniasis, a common parasite, said Dr. Sara Forhan, a researcher at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) who led the study team.
An estimated 3.2 million have one or more of those four sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs.
The two most common diseases were HPV, at 18 percent, and chlamydia, at 4 percent, according to the analysis, part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Among the infected women, 15 percent had more than one sexually transmitted disease.
Women may be unaware that they are infected. But the diseases, which are infections caused by bacteria, viruses and parasites, can produce acute symptoms and lead to such long-term ailments as infertility and cancer.
STD rates were higher among black female teens, with 48 percent infected compared to 20 percent of white and Mexican teens, the study showed.
CDC officials blamed the disparity partially on a lack of access to health care and education, but said the main reason is that STDs are more prevalent in the black community, making each sexual encounter more risky.
The four STDs are not considered as serious as HIV/AIDS, gonorrhea and syphilis, which were not tracked in the study. But all can damage the body if left untreated. HPV can cause cervical cancer, the bacterial infection chlamydia can lead to abnormal pregnancies, and genital herpes viruses and the parasite trichomoniasis can make it easier to contract HIV/AIDS.
The study showed that about half of teens reported being sexually active and about 40 percent of those were infected.
Information from The New York Times is included in this report.
*******
Sharon Stone - Stone Advocates Oral Sex03/28/2006
contactmusic.com
http://www.contactmusic.com/new/xmlfeed.nsf/mndwebpages/stone%20advocates%20oral%20sex_28_03_2006
Actress Sharon Stone is adamant teenagers should be prepared to engage in oral sex, if it saves from them the dangers of unprotected penetrative sex. The 'Basic Instinct' spends much of her time away from Hollywood working as an activist raising AIDS awareness, and she always carries condoms with her to hand out in a bid to increase safe sex levels. She explains, "I was in the store the other day and I watched a young girl trying on clothes, showing her abdomen. "Her mother was trying to talk to her about not being inappropriately luring. I said, 'Gee that would look much nicer with a camisole under.' "Her mother walked away, and I said to the girl, 'I'd like to give you a two-minute conversation about sex.' "Young people talk to me about what to do if they're being pressed for sex? I tell them (what I believe): oral sex is a hundred times safer than vaginal or anal sex. "If you're in a situation where you cannot get out of sex, offer a blow job. I'm not embarrassed to tell them."
*******
Caught on CCTV: the 'happy slapping' killers
· Judge orders release of footage to highlight cult
· Girl named as teenage gang are jailed for killingSandra Laville
The Guardian, Tuesday 24 January 2006
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2006/jan/24/ukcrime.topstories3
An Old Bailey judge yesterday released CCTV film to highlight the "depressing and alarming" teenage cult of happy slapping as he named a 14-year-old girl who was in the gang that beat a man to death.
Chelsea O'Mahoney used her mobile phone to film the attack on Wayne Miller, a homeless man, who survived. Earlier that night the same gang kicked to death another man, David Morley, 37, as he sat by the Thames.
Jailing O'Mahoney, now 16, Reece Sargeant, 21, Darren Case, 18, and David Blenman, 17, the judge said the filming was done to enhance the status of the gang among their peers.
Brian Barker, the Common Serjeant of London, told the four: "You call it happy slapping - no victim on the receiving end would dignify it with such a deceptive description."
Sargeant, Case and Blenman were each given 12-year sentences and O'Mahoney was sentenced to eight years in prison for the manslaughter of Mr Morley and grievous bodily harm.
The four had gone out to attack innocent passersby on the South Bank in London early on October 30 2004. In a 56 minute "orgy" of violence that mirrored a scene from the Anthony Burgess novel, A Clockwork Orange, they assaulted eight people in five separate attacks, leaving Mr Morley with 44 separate injuries. He bled to death in hospital later that day.
As he sentenced the gang, the judge lifted an order protecting the identities of O'Mahoney and Blenman as juveniles because of the exceptional nature of the case. Reports presented to him revealed the backgrounds of the gang, who graduated from playing truant to running together on the streets of south London wearing hoods to cover their faces and using the latest video mobile phones to record acts of violence in order to replay them to friends.
O'Mahoney was born in south London to parents addicted to heroin. At a young age she would sit and watch her mother inject heroin in the flat where they lived, the court heard. From the age of three, O'Mahoney was left to wander the streets of London unsupervised until she was taken in by her aunt, who attempted to offer her a better life. But the experiment of living with her aunt did not work out and O'Mahoney was taken into the care of the local authority.
It was from her foster home that each Friday night she would venture out with Sargeant's gang and film the attacks on her NEC mobile phone. The gang had done the same thing for six months, gaining strength and confidence from each other with each attack and filming the most serious assaults. Mr Morley's death brought their rampage to an end, the court heard.
When police raided O'Mahoney's home in South Norwood, south-east London, they found a diary which mentioned "all nighters" - the phrase the gang used for robbery sprees - and "ramping", slang for robbery. In an entry for Sunday October 3 2004, a few weeks before the attack on Mr Morley, she wrote: "Them lot bang up some old homeless man which I fink is bad even doe I woz laughen after doe."
Held at Oakhill secure unit before her trial, O'Mahoney was involved in several incidents of violence, including hurling a television against the wall. Mr Barker said it was rare for a girl of her age to appear in court to be sentenced on such "grave crimes."
"You have had a particularly chaotic and fragmented life, which has contributed to your poor emotional development. Your peer group was your priority. Your life has lacked stability, consistency and effective boundaries and emotional care," he said. Although she had no previous convictions, he said O'Mahoney had been out on earlier expeditions with the older boys and was a "willing part" of the plan to attack Mr Morley.
Blenman was on remand in custody until shortly before the attacks. He had several previous convictions for street crime and had been placed on the special educational needs register at a young age. The judge said he was considered an "ongoing risk to the public". Case suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and had a "wretched" upbringing with no parental support. Sargeant suffered from learning difficulties and a speech impediment. But faced with a catalogue of poor school attendance, previous convictions, aggressive and difficult behaviour, the judge said the gang's youth and their difficult background did not mitigate against what they had done.
"You are all old enough to understand the realities and the consequences of your actions," he said. "You sought enjoyment from humiliation and pleasure from the infliction of pain." Mr Morley's family said afterwards they hoped the long prison sentences would serve as a deterrent.
Police had to protect Mr Morley's parents as they left court yesterday after relatives of the defendants hurled abuse at them. One man drew a finger across his throat as a threat before police moved in to break up the group.
*******

No comments: