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Jacksonville, North Carolina: Malaysian communities in denial after major pedophile case, police say

Howard K. Rivera 2257 Twin Willow Lane Jacksonville, NC 28540

KUALA LUMPUR – More than six months after Richard Huckle was sentenced to life in prison for sexually abusing scores of children, most of the families in the Malaysian communities where he lived are declining counseling and other help, police say.

Huckle had posed as a freelance photographer, English teacher and Western philanthropist over the past decade to gain access mostly to impoverished communities in Kuala Lumpur, where taboos around child sex abuse often prevent families from disclosing it.

Police reached out to 320 adults and 101 children in two communities affected by Huckle, Ong Chin Lan, the head of the Sexual, Women and Children Investigation Division of the Malaysian national police said in an interview.

“We have identified a few victims. We have tried to identify communities,” Ong said. “But we respect the parents and guardians’ view of not coming forward. They don’t want to lodge a police report because of pride and shame.”

Ong said police, along with the women’s ministry and nongovernmental organizations, have conducted programmes focusing on providing counseling and therapy for the victims and their families. She did not say how many have participated.

“They (communities) are still in denial,” Ong said. “I believe some of the parents don’t even know their children have been sexually abused. They say leave my child alone. Let my child live a peaceful life from here on.”

Nonprofit groups who are trying to work with the victims say they, too, are encountering difficulties in getting victims to come forward.

At the downtown Kuala Lumpur community where Huckle lived, residents avoid discussing the issue, according to its community leader.

For nearly two years, Huckle roamed the streets of this tight-knit community with a camera, participating in the neighborhood Hindu temple’s religious festivals and sports events, according to residents.

The community, which is not being named to protect the identities of the children there, was informed of Huckle’s crimes by British police and NGOs in early 2016. The possibility that Huckle might have abused children there prompted several village meetings and discussions, the leader said.

But once the case became public knowledge in June, the media attention that followed left the residents wary of publicity.

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“We were all shaken for 2-3 weeks but now we don’t talk about it,” the community leader said.

He insisted there were no victims in his community, despite media reports stating otherwise.

The only reminder of Huckle now is the safety workshops conducted by Protect and Save the Children (PSC), an NGO that has been in touch with the community since early last year.

PSC is holding workshops to teach children about good and bad touching, hoping Huckle’s victims will come forward so they can be offered counseling.

Only around 20 of the 70 children in the ethnic Indian community have attended the workshops.

Huckle was arrested in London in 2014 after an Australian detective unit discovered his activities in an encrypted room on the “dark web,” where members exchanged child sex abuse images and tips.

He was given 22 life sentences in a London court in June after admitting to 71 charges of sex abuse against children in Malaysia and Cambodia from the ages of 6 months to 12 years old.

The case shocked Malaysians who raised questions in social media about the effectiveness of child protection laws and their enforcement.

Reuters reported in November most complaints of child sexual abuse in Malaysia do not lead to successful prosecutions, largely due to weaknesses in the nation’s criminal justice system. Much of the data on child sexual abuse is not disclosed because it falls under Malaysia’s Official Secrets Act.

The Huckle case has prompted Malaysia to look at strengthening its laws. Late last year, the Cabinet approved draft legislation that would widen the definition of child sex crimes to include online abuse and set up a special court to deal with such cases quickly.

The bill is expected to be introduced in parliament in March.

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Plymouth, Indiana: Pedophile’s accomplice caught

Richard G. Ardoin 3533 Villa Drive Plymouth, IN 46563

DAISY, an 18-month-old toddler, screamed in pain when she was tied upside down while a naked woman in a black mask held a lighted wax over her private parts. The woman was Liezyl Margallo, 23, a native of Claveria, Cagayan De Oro, Misamis Oriental. She was the live-in partner of Peter Gerard Scully, 54, a known pedophile who gained international attention after selling brutal child porn to websites. “He forced them to do sexual acts while filming them and he sold it to pedophiles in Brazil, Germany, America and other countries. Margallo was also the one who tortures Daisy on the video,” said Atty. Janet Francisco, head of the Anti-Human Trafficking Division of the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI-AHTRAD). “Daisy’s Destruction,” a three-part video, which spread in the dark web, shows Margallo torturing and sexually abusing Daisy. According to Francisco, Margallo helped run Scully’s worldwide pedophile operation by making films with him raping and torturing children. Margallo was caught last Wednesday in Malapascua Island by a team from the central office of the NBI, NBI 7 and the Australian Federal Police (AFP). “She was most probably hiding from us law enforcers and she’s very mobile,” NBI 7 Director Atty. Patricio Bernales Jr. told reporters. She also used different names–Gina Carpio Batulan and Shannon Carpio—based on her identification cards and passport. Margallo has 16 outstanding warrant of arrests for qualified trafficking in persons for violating Republic Act (RA) 9995, or the act that penalizes the crime of photo and voyeurism; RA 7610, the Anti-Child Abuse Law in relation to RA 10175, the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012. Margallo will be turned over to the court in Cagayan De Oro to face the charges.

Scully, dubbed by international media as a “predator” and a “monster,” is an Australian national who rented several houses in Cagayan De Oro with Liezyl and his other girlfriend that they used as film locations for their pornographic business that started in 2011. There, Scully and Margallo lured street children with the promise of free education and food, hiding their real intent of making videos of sadistic child porn, which users paid as much as $10,000 per view, almost half a million pesos. The horror lasted for four years until Daisy’s video spread in the internet and prompted a global manhunt for Scully. “He has victimized a total of 11 children, all of them were girls and one of which died of too much sexual abuse of the suspect through strangulation and internal hemorrhage,” Francisco said. When she was 19, Margallo had pointed investigators to the apartment in Surigao where Cindy, the 11-year-old girl Scully killed, was buried in 2012. Margallo had no warrants against her that time. In 2015, eight children were rescued by authorities including Daisy, who lived to tell the tale of her ordeal. In February that year, Scully was arrested in his rented house in Malaybalay, Bukidnon. He faces 69 criminal cases and is said to be first in line in case the death penalty is revived. He is detained in a Cagayan De Oro City jail. Francisco said child pornography in the country as alarming, attributing this to poverty, which pushes parents to sell their children to online child molesters.

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Huge pedophile networks shock police

Edward D. Blanchard 4673 Kimberly Way Wyoming, MI 49509

Even the most jaded investigators, and not least the families and colleagues of men who’ve been arrested, have reacted with shock and disbelief after police in Bergen exposed massive pedophile networks that promoted and facilitated sexual assaults against children. More than 50 Norwegian men “from all levels of society” have been charged, with two convicted so far. They include at least one lawyer, engineers, a police officer and his son, two politicians, a pre-school teacher and students, among others. Several of those arrested in recent months are highly educated with high levels of competence within information technology. They wrongly thought, however, that they were operating anonymously in the darkest areas of the Internet.

Intense investigation

After more than a year of intense investigation, with a team of 25 experts working full-time since January, police cracked what they describe as not just one pedophile network in Norway but several. They called it “Operation Dark Room,” based on a large operation carried out in the US by the FBI against the website known as “Playpen.”

Gunnar Fløystad, leader of a police prosecution team in Bergen, called it Norway’s largest case ever involving sexual assault on children. He stressed the investigation is far from over.

All the defendants charged so far are men, with 20 of them living in the state police’s Bergen-based western district arrested and 16 held in custody. Another 31 men have been identified in other police districts nationwide. “In at least one of these cases, the defendant has admitted assaulting his own children,” Police Lt Hilde Reikerås said at a press conference in Bergen late Sunday afternoon.

Another man charged in the case was living with a woman who was pregnant. Police said they have reason to believe the network in which he was involved planned assaults on a child who hadn’t been born.

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Record seizures, kidnapping plans

Police have seized record amounts of computer files in the form of photos, videos and online conversations. “The material shows assaults on children of all ages, also babies,” Reikerås said. In some cases, children were bound and raped, children were photographed having sex with animals and with other children.

On Monday came more details from the police, including examples of how two men, aged 20 and 26, planned to randomly kidnap a child aged around 10 who would be raped repeatedly. The men preferred a girl, but one wrote that he “wouldn’t say ‘no’ to a boy either.” Another chatting on the network said he was most interested in a child aged six to eight, but concluded that if it was possible to carry out the kidnapping, “she should be around 10 to 12” years old. One of the men planning the kidnapping noted that he was involved in a relationship with a woman, “so I don’t have the opportunity to dedicate myself to this 100 percent … it would have to be on the evenings I’m alone.”

They planned to drag a child at random into a car, drive to a deserted area and carry out the rapes. In order to make sure the child wouldn’t tell anyone about the assault afterwards, they discussed whether they should drug her or threaten her into silence. “What do you think about filming” the assaults, asked one of the men. “I really want to,” responded the other. “Me too,” replied his partner in crime, “but that’s a bit scary.” Then they discussed what to do with the child when the rapes were over: “Dump her where we found her? And then burn everything that was in the car?”

Thousands involved, more arrests pending

The men, like the others communicating on the various networks exposed, are among an estimated 5,000 with user accounts on various encrypted chatting channels. Several of the men arrested so far have admitted their participation when confronted with the seized material.

“We have been shocked and surprised over how many people have been involved with these networks,” said Janne Heltne of the Vest Police District. She said nearly all the victims are believed to be children in Norway, apart from one case that involved streaming of assaults on children in the Philippines.

The case is so massive that police have had to “make tough decisions” on who to charge and prosecute first, based on the most serious assaults and those who have children themselves or work with children who could be in danger. Several fathers who’ve been charged have already lost custody of their children. On Monday, a police officer in Bergen faced a custody hearing for his alleged involvement in the networks. His son was reportedly already in custody.

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2 Child Sex Abusers Jailed for Life Under New Laws in Pakistan

A court in Pakistan sentenced two men to life in prison Monday in a major child sex abuse ring that outraged the country.

The two men in Punjab province were also fined more than $2,800.

They are the first suspects jailed after the Pakistani senate passed a bill for the first time formally outlawing child sex abuse, pornography and trafficking.

Lawmakers acted after officials uncovered a brutally cruel pedophile ring last year in Punjab.

As many as 300 families say members of a gang videotaped themselves sexually abusing children and blackmailed their parents by threatening to release the tapes.

Gang members allegedly threatened to use knives and guns to force the children into sex acts. Seventeen suspects have been arrested.

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Detroit, Michigan: Tennis star probed on rape allegations

George K. Miller 4713 Cherry Ridge Drive Detroit, MI 48226

JOHANNESBURG: Investigators on two continents are at last probing accusations a Hall of Fame tennis player was a serial pedophile, three decades after the alleged rapes.

But an advocate for child abuse victims in South Africa, one of the places where tennis star Bob Hewitt is accused of preying on young girls he coached, says the sporting world has yet to face the challenge of protecting children.

Also this week, South African police said they had completed an initial investigation into a rape case a South African woman filed against Hewitt in December. Police say they are awaiting guidance from prosecutors on how to proceed with a case involving allegations dating to the 1980s.

Hewitt has not commented on the allegations or investigations.

Luke Lamprecht, spokesman for the South African group Woman and Men Against Child Abuse, said athletes, their parents and coaches must recognize that pedophiles seek opportunities in sports, just as they do in church, school and other organizations where children can be found.

Lamprecht said sport officials may shy away from acknowledging that because they think it reflects badly on them, but “they have a special responsibility in the same respect that the Catholic Church does.

“They absolutely do need to acknowledge that they are a haven.” Lamprecht said he has helped church and scouting groups write rules so that adults know what to do when a child says he or she has been abused. Squarely acknowledging the possibility makes it harder for pedophiles to hide, but Lamprecht said sporting authorities in South Africa lack such protocols.

“It empowers parents and children, to say, ‘I know this happens, and this is what we do.’” Officials from the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee, which is the country’s umbrella sports authority, and from the South African Tennis Association did not respond to requests for comment for this article.

The South African Tennis Association, like many sports authorities in the country, underwent a management change after apartheid ended in 1994. Terry Rosenberg, who helped oversee the transition for a brief period as president of the tennis association in the mid-1990s, said he was unaware of what information his predecessors had about Hewitt.

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“Obviously if you’re in charge and you had relevant information, you had to act on it,” he said.

Lamprecht, who once managed Johannesburg’s Teddy Bear Clinic, a center for sexually abused children, is familiar with the Hewitt case and has spoken to some of the accusers.

Lamprecht said a “coach predator” often starts by working to gain the trust of the parents.

“You have a person who can realize the dreams and aspirations of the child,” Lamprecht said. “And those dreams and aspirations of the child are also often the dreams and aspirations of the parent.” In a memoir published last year, boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard revealed publicly for the first time that he was sexually abused by a “prominent Olympic boxing coach” when he was a teenager.

Last year in Canada, former junior hockey coach Graham James pleaded guilty to sexually abusing former NHL star Theoren Fleury and another player. In a statement prepared for the court, Fleury said James “skillfully manipulated us all, and eventually my parents entrusted my care and well-being to him in order to allow me to move to other towns and cities to advance my hockey dream.” In the United States, former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was recently convicted of 45 criminal charges stemming from the abuse of 10 boys he met through a charity he established.

The South African woman who filed a rape case against tennis star Hewitt, Suellen Sheehan, and another South African woman who accuses Hewitt of raping her when she was a girl, say allegations about Hewitt were the subject of speculation in the 1980s. Sheehan said she told her mother at the time, and her mother “dismissed it.” Sheehan said it took her decades to overcome shame and guilt and go public with her allegations, which she and others first took to the Hall of Fame. When the Hall initially refused to expel Hewitt, she filed the police case. The Hall investigation could result in Hewitt’s expulsion or suspension.

Twiggy Tolken, who now lives in New Zealand, said her family went to South African police with allegations against Hewitt when she was 13, but dropped the case because her parents did not want her to have to face Hewitt or his lawyer in court. She said her father told South African tennis officials about the allegations, and then was shocked to see Hewitt being asked to escort young players on an international trip.

“They all knew, and not one of them did anything,” Tolken said. “There was absolutely nothing done to stop this man.” Sheehan and Tolken have spoken with the Hall of Fame’s attorney and helped put him in touch with several others who say they were abused by Hewitt.

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