Reality Round-Up: Sex and the Naked Truth

A famous scene from the film “American Pie” (Universal Pictures)

Yesterday, I published the latest installment in my ongoing Reality Round-Up series, “Hump Day +1.” For those of you unfamiliar with RRU, it’s basically a way for me to connect news stories from around the world—normally based on strange similarities or other common factors—while also commenting on the world around me. In terms of blogging, I’ve found it to be a useful tool—the news never stops and I can always count on someone doing some crazy shit worthy of a post.

Of course, it’s rare for me to publish two Reality Round-Ups back-to-back since variety is the spice of life and I try to mix things up a bit more for readers—interspersing news commentary with original essays, inspirational stories and even the occasional short fiction or screenplay idea. Every so often, though, news stories converge in a kind of “perfect storm” and simply cannot be ignored.

And today, ladies and gentlemen, is one of those days.

As a result of passing out early on the sofa last night—I have no idea what time it happened, so I must have been more exhausted than I thought—I woke up earlier than usual and made it to work a bit early, as well. After preparing for my day and completing some other small tasks, I decided to start scanning the news sites for more blog fodder, again searching for themes that might connect some of them while also appealing to readers.

I like focusing on connections because it helps me illustrate the connectedness of human kind—how we are all brothers and sisters who, despite living on different sides of the world, still have more in common than we might think. This “brotherhood of man” approach has always been important to me because our differences make us unique, yet almost always lead to strife in one form or another. Focusing on the similarities between us, on the other hand, makes day-to-day life better because it shows how our struggles, joys, successes and failures are common and should bring us together. It’s my small contribution to the betterment of society, or so I like to think.

As I was surfing from site to site in search of a topic for today’s RRU, two buzz words seemed to hit numerous times in different stories: sex and nudity. Granted, this may seem like a good thing until you remember how news agencies tend to focus more on the negative than the positive. Yes, one of these stories does have a happy ending, but in most cases—and because of the darkness that seems to be spreading across the United States (and the world, for that matter)—I’m afraid the negativity still rises to the top. My hope is that this won’t ruin anyone’s day or start the weekend off on the wrong foot, but again, they were too disturbing, strange and even interesting to ignore. I hope you enjoy this edition despite the darkness that always creeps in to the Reality Round-Up.

BILLINGS, MONTANA

Not long ago, I wrote about a man named Stacey Dean Rambold, a former high school teacher who confessed to raping one of his students—Cherize Moralez—when she was only 14 years old. Before he went to trial, though—and given the psychological and emotional consequences of rape—Moralez committed suicide. She was only two weeks shy of her 17th birthday at the time.

Judge Baugh, Moralez and Rambold (Mankato Times)

Judge Baugh, Moralez and Rambold (Mankato Times)

Rambold’s case got national attention when the judge presiding over it—the “honorable” G. Todd Baugh—claimed his victim “seemed older than her chronological age” and sentenced him to only one month in jail—in legal terms, this is known as a deferred prosecution agreement. Rambold was placed on probation for the next 15 years or so and was also required to complete a sex offender treatment program. The stipulations of this program included no contact with children, avoidance of any area where children congregate and the relinquishing of all photo, video, Internet and cell phone capabilities. As long as Rambold lived up to his obligations, all charges against him would be dropped.

Unfortunately for Rambold, he fell short of some of his treatment requirements and prosecutors pushed for his sentence to be increased to 20 years in jail. Judge Baugh disagreed and again showed his level of incompetence when he made the following statement:

“He (Rambold) made some violations of his treatment program. They were more technical and not the kind you would send someone to prison for.”

Perhaps not, but I certainly think rape is a jail-able crime, even more so when it involves an underage girl who subsequently killed herself as a result. It’s too bad Baugh didn’t think this way because yesterday, Rambold completed his month behind bars and was released from jail. Yes, he’s on probation for a long time, but otherwise he’s a free man—which means he’s capable of doing this to some other unsuspecting girl.

After all, anyone who’s willing to rape a child is obviously sick and capable of doing it again and again, at least until someone stops him. And since our justice system failed miserably in the case of Rambold—a confessed rapist—I hope we don’t see his name in the headlines again for a similar crime… but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised.

Of course, I would also like to see the following headline in the news: Judge Baugh Fired for Being a Complete Moron. This is more likely to happen, and I will be keeping my eyes peeled for it very soon.

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA

Although I know better, I was hoping the days of Catholic priests molesting children were largely behind us. Sadly, this isn’t the case in Philly where Father Robert Brennan was just charged with rape, aggravated indecent assault and involuntary deviant sexual intercourse. His case is related to the 2012 child endangerment conviction of Monsignor William Lynn, the first church leader convicted of such a crime.

What I find most disturbing about Brennan’s case—aside from the actual crimes themselves—is that he was implicated in a 2005 case for allegedly abusing more than 20 children. Unfortunately, the statute of limitations had passed and he was never charged. The archdiocese stripped him of most of his duties shortly after these allegations came to light, but he was allowed to remain a priest and we see where that led. Had he been removed from the priesthood and jailed for his crimes, things likely would have been much, much different.

Father Robert Brennan, leave those kids alone! (CBS Local)

Father Robert Brennan, leave those kids alone! (CBS Local)

Is it me or does anyone else sense a trend here? Teenagers who are mentally ill but don’t receive the proper treatment arm themselves and start killing schoolchildren, while priests who molest children are allowed to continue so they can do the same thing to other victims.

Until we start acknowledging these kinds of issues and actually take action, all we’re doing is reinforcing the behavior we all want to weed out of our society… at least I hope we all do. Based on some of these recent developments, though, it seems as if the very system of checks and balances we use to prevent crime continues to fail, opening the door to even more crime in the future.

Something’s got to give, but until it does, expect to see more priests molesting children since we’re obviously doing very little to stop them.

TEMECULA, CALIFORNIA

On Thursday, 19-year-old Jared James Abrahams—a computer science student with a penchant for hacking—was arrested for allegedly hijacking the webcams of young women and then extorting more risqué photos and videos by threatening to release these images online. One of his victims, in fact, was none other than Cassidy Wolf, the current Miss Teen USA and—at the time of her harassment—Miss Teen California.

According to the latest reports, Abrahams hacked into the webcams of young women, took control of their computers and then used the cameras to snap pictures of them changing clothes. He told authorities that he had as many as 40 “slave computers”—as well as access to other electronic devices (like tablets and cell phones)—and in all controlled as many as 150 different devices at one time. Once he had the images he needed, Abrahams would then contact each victim and threaten to release the photos unless they sent him more pictures or videos via Skype. His general threat went something like this:

“Either you do one of the things listed below or I upload these pics and a lot more (I have a LOT more and those are better quality) on all your accounts for everybody to see.”

In the case of Cassidy Wolf, he added “and your dream of being a model will be transformed into a porn star.”

What a complete freaking loser.

Cassidy Wolf and Abrahams, her online tormentor (NBC News)

Cassidy Wolf and Abrahams, her online tormentor (NBC News)

Fortunately, Abrahams wasn’t a tech savvy as he thought and failed to cover his “online tracks” effectively. Investigators eventually discovered emails, IP addresses and other communications linking him to these crimes—as well as posts to online forums where he asked others about hacking into Facebook accounts, controlling webcams remotely and installing malware. He was also linked to at least eight other women from places as close as Southern California and as distant as Moldova. And they all told stories similar to Wolf’s.

The good news is that Abrahams “wised up,” surrendered to the FBI without incident and admitted his crimes. After appearing in court, he was released “on intensive pretrial supervision and home detention with electronic monitoring,” but his parents had to first sign bond agreements upwards of $50,000 to make this happen. Abrahams will now face federal extortion charges, which I hope will lead to some serious jail time. We’ll just have to wait and see, I suppose.

There is one more thing I should mention about Abrahams: he’s autistic. This information came out Thursday when his lawyer, Alan Eisner, spoke with CNN affiliate KTLA. In other words, here’s another teenager with mental illness who perpetrated a crime that, to me, could have been prevented.

When are we ever going to learn?

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND

In an effort to end this edition of the Reality Round-Up on a more positive note, I bring you a story from Brown University that proves there are still some decent people in the world.

To generate discussion about “power, privilege, race, class, gender, ability and… how they interact with nudity, body image and nudity in relation to sexuality,” students at Brown have organized Nudity in the Upspace, a clothing-optional event that includes yoga classes, open mic nights, body painting and the aforementioned discussion forum.

Nude yoga sounds a little sketchy to me—especially if you get stuck behind a less hygienic person—but to each his own.

According to the event coordinators—juniors Becca Wolinsky and Camila Pacheco-Fores—the hope is that Nudity in the Upspace will promote both positivity and education.

Come to Brown University for an education and some nudity to boot (Campus Reform)

Come to Brown University for an education and some nudity to boot (Campus Reform)

“It’s mostly the idea of talking about and addressing things that people don’t ‘normally’ address that can be stigmatized,” Pacheco-Fores said recently. “I hope that people will laugh when it’s funny and feel moved when that is appropriate. I hope that people will come out of the experience feeling empowered and feeling that bodies and people are beautiful whether naked or clothed.”

Personally, I’m sure I would be very moved if I attended an event populated with naked college girls. And I’m sure some male or even female students at Brown would feel the same, even though many Ivy Leaguers likely have more self-control. Either way, though, the event seems like a great idea since we often forget that “normal people” don’t look like the models, actors and other beautiful folks featured in the media. I commend these students for being willing enough—and courageous enough—to shed their clothing for such a great cause.

I’m also glad no cameras, cell phones or bags will be allowed at the event. Otherwise I’m certain there would be pictures of naked students all over the Internet… as if there aren’t enough already!

So there you have it, folks: the sex and nudity edition of the Reality Round-Up. I’m certain it won’t be the last…

Posted on September 27, 2013, in Perspectives and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. You have to try 3single (dot) com. There you can talk to amateur women who look like your neighbor. Have fun 🙂

  1. Pingback: Sextortion Case Revelation | gnostic bent

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