8-year-old dies after allegedly mistaking
dad’s crystal meth for breakfast cereal
JACKSON COUNTY, IN – Prosecutors are hoping to put a man in prison for 50 years after his young son died from accidentally ingesting crystal meth.
Curtis Collman is charged with the death of his 8-year-old son, Curtis, Jr., in addition to facing charges for pointing a firearm, theft and failure to register as a sex offender.
On June 21, investigators said the second grader started eating what he thought was breakfast cereal on a plate after telling his father he was hungry.
Instead, police said the boy was eating crystal meth. By the time he was done, Curtis had consumed 180 times the lethal limit.
“Just your worst nightmare as a parent,” Jackson County chief deputy prosecutor Jeffrey Chalfant said.
The boy’s father allegedly threatened a female friend at gunpoint when she tried to call 911 for help. Prosecutors said he even stopped his own parents from getting help for the boy, who was having seizures and convulsing.
“An 8-year-old child more than likely suffered for many hours,” detective Tom Barker said. “It upsets you.”
Investigators said the elder Collman’s previous record includes charges for trafficking and sexual misconduct with a minor. He was also arrested by police once for a high-speed chase.
The suspect is seeking to have his bond reduced to await trial at home. Prosecutors say they’re going to fight to keep him behind bars.
Trouble Ahead for Wrongly Criminalized
In a major blow to survivors of human trafficking, the US Department of Justice has announced that it will no longer allow funding to be used to help survivors get legal representation to clear their criminal records that resulted from their victimization. The decision by the Office for Victims of Crime will affect $77 million of human trafficking grants this year.
The abrupt policy reversal was initiated by the Trump administration and goes against the consensus of survivors, advocates, and law enforcement. The new funding restrictions are expected to go into effect in just a couple of weeks.
In an opinion piece in The Hill, Cyrus R. Vance Jr., the Manhattan District Attorney, and Kate Mogulescu, an Assistant Professor of Clinical Law at Brooklyn Law School, write:
It is widely acknowledged that victims are frequently arrested when they are trafficked. A 2016 National Survivor Network survey found that over 91 percent of respondents reported having been arrested, over 40 percent reported being arrested 9 times or more.
No one questions the detrimental impact this has on survivors’ ability to move forward. Criminal records act as concrete barriers for survivors, and lead to denial of employment, housing, and other services. Furthermore, the message to survivors living with criminal records because of their trafficking is clear — you did something wrong, you deserve this, this will live with you forever.
That’s why Manhattan prosecutors screen every prostitution arrest for evidence of trafficking and dismiss prostitution cases after individuals receive counseling sessions and other services.
But the most effective legal response to correct the injustice of past convictions is vacatur or expungement, laws that provide survivors a way to clear their record of charges they were convicted of that were a result of trafficking. New York was the first state to pass such a law in 2009, and almost every state in the country has taken some steps toward relieving survivors of the burden of a criminal record since then.
In one example, Vance and Mogulescu point to the case of a young woman who was sex trafficked for five years in New York, starting when she was just 16. During that time, she was arrested for prostitution six times.
Yet, because of collaboration between the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and the Brooklyn Law School, her convictions were vacated, ensuring that she would she would not be haunted by them for the rest of her life.
Prosecutors have come to rely on partner organizations to help identify trafficking victims and bring vacatur motions or expungement petitions. Under the new funding rules, victims who can’t access legal representation will be forced to file petitions on their own — a significant burden to those seeking justice.
As Vance and Mogulescu conclude, this policy will have tremendous impact on the ability for trafficking survivors to simply live their lives:
“Funding for this work is critical — for the survivor trafficked into prostitution over two decades ago, who has focused on her education, earned a Masters degree in counseling, but is prohibited from taking a state licensure exam because of her criminal record; for the survivor parent of a nine-year-old child who faces humiliation at being fingerprinted to chaperone a school trip; for the survivor who secures an entry level service sector job but has the offer rescinded when a background check reveals her criminal record.”
22 men indicted as part of human trafficking operation in Brentwood
BRENTWOOD, TN – At least 22 men have been indicted as part of an undercover human trafficking operation in Brentwood.
As part of the sting in early October, two female agents posed as prostitutes on Backpage.com and offered sex for purchase.
During the text message exchanges with dozens and dozens of would-be customers, the agents identified themselves as minors.
According to the TBI, within a three-day period, 22 men showed up for arranged meetings, showing intentions of purchasing sex with a child.
The men were from all different backgrounds. The suspects include a computer programmer, an automotive engineer, a chef and a construction worker.
Eleven of the 22 men who were indicted are still in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Now: @TBInvestigation presser on a human trafficking investigation in Brentwood. pic.twitter.com/FUaMJVM9wI
— Kim St. Onge (@KimWSMV) November 9, 2017
Authorities have arrested nine of the suspects in Williamson County:
NOT IN MY WORLD!!!! will not publish these names, if you wish to see them, you will find them here.
The TBI also sent undercover male agents to respond to advertisements on Backpage.com to try to find potential victims of human trafficking. Two women responded to the ads but declined to receive services from the TBI’s partner nonprofit agency.
The TBI, the Brentwood Police Department, Homeland Security and the office of 21st District Attorney General Kim Helper all assisted in the investigation.
“This is, without doubt, a demand-driven crime, involving men from all kinds of backgrounds,” said TBI Director Mark Gwyn. “We need more men to stand up and talk honestly about how we got here as a culture and what we need to do to fix it. Unless we’re willing to hold one other accountable, we will continue to see too many people victimized by this kind of crime, with no one to blame but ourselves.”
If you would like to help the victims of sex trafficking in Tennessee, visit ithastostop.com.
FBI: Child Sex Trafficking operations conducted in Myrtle Beach, Lumberton
Conway, SC – Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Lumberton, North Carolina, were both sites of operations conducted last week as part of a cross-country Federal Bureau of Investigation effort to crack down on underage human trafficking, according to a news release.
The operation, Operation Cross Country XI, resulted in the recovery of 84 minors and the arrest of 120 traffickers from Oct. 12 through Oct. 15, the release from the FBI said.
The youngest victim recovered was 3 months old, and the average age of the recovered victims was 15 years old, the release said.
In one example, on Oct. 13, FBI Denver found two minor girls, one 3-months-old and one 5-years-old, after a friend of the children’s family offered an undercover officer “access to the two children for sexual purposes in exchange for $600,” the release said.
“We at the FBI have no greater mission than to protect our nation’s children from harm. Unfortunately, the number of traffickers arrested—and the number of children recovered—reinforces why we need to continue to do this important work,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray in the release. “This operation isn’t just about taking traffickers off the street. It’s about making sure we offer help and a way out to these young victims who find themselves caught in a vicious cycle of abuse.”
FBI agents and task force officers staged operations in hotels, casinos, and truck stops, as well as on street corners and internet websites. The operations in the Carolinas happened in Myrtle Beach and Columbia in South Carolina, and Charlotte, Raleigh, Fayetteville, and Lumberton in North Carolina, according to the FBI.
“Child sex trafficking is happening in every community across America,” said National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® President and CEO John Clark, which partnered with the FBI for the operation. “We’re proud to work with the FBI on Operation Cross Country to help find and recover child victims. We hope OCC generates more awareness about this crisis impacting our nation’s children.”
This is the 11th iteration of the FBI-led Operation Cross Country (OCC), which took place this year in 55 FBI field offices and involved 78 state and local task forces, consisting of hundreds of law enforcement partners. This year’s coordinated operations took place with several international partners, including Canada (Operation Northern Spotlight), the United Kingdom (Aident 8), Thailand, Cambodia, and the Philippines.
Operation Cross Country XIis part of the FBI’s Innocence Lost National Initiative, which began in 2003 and has yielded more than 6,500 child identifications and locations. For additional information on Operation Cross Country XI and the Innocence Lost initiative, please visitwww.fbi.gov.
24-Hour HOTLINE 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) If you think you have seen a missing child, contact the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.
Report Child Sexual Exploitation Use the CyberTipline to report child sexual exploitation.
Child Abuse, Neglect strain New Mexico
SANTA FE, NM – New Mexico’s child protection system is straining to keep pace with an increase in abuse and neglect cases, despite increased public spending, according to a report from state analysts released Tuesday.
The report from the nonpartisan Legislative Finance Committee shows the protective services program for children in state custody has failed to meet seven out of eight performance goals. For the fiscal year ending in June, the program missed benchmarks for reunifying children with parents in under a year, the number of children returning to foster care and the speed of adoptions.
The number of children placed in protective care in New Mexico increased by 6 percent to 2,674 during the one-year period ending in June. The state spends 21 percent more on protective programs for children than it did four years ago.
Children, Youth and Families Department Secretary Monique Jacobson said her agency has been encouraging the public to report child abuse — possibly pushing up case numbers in the process.
“We’re asking people to make child abuse their business,” she said, noting other factors in New Mexico including an opioid addiction epidemic have influence caseloads.
Jacobson acknowledged improvements in the state’s child welfare system are needed, while highlighted progress toward a more stable workforce and an increase in the number of field workers who visit homes to detect maltreatment and determine whether a child may be in danger.
The job turnover rate dropped to 25 percent this year for child protective services workers, down from 34 percent in 2014, Jacobson said.
She cautioned that efforts to reunify mistreated children with parents cannot be rushed or incentivized, and that her agency is working with the court system to streamline adoption procedures. Jacobson noted year-over-year statistical progress in six out of eight evaluation categories for child protective services.
The analysis from the Legislature notes that the state could save tens of millions of dollars in the short run with just a 10 percent reduction in child maltreatment and foster placements.
Generally high evaluation marks were given to the performance of early childhood services including programs that promote high-quality child care.