Saturday, February 07, 2009

The Problem With Only Warning Girls About Online Abusers

From the Journal Sentinel:

New Berlin [Wisconsin] - A former New Berlin Eisenhower student was accused Wednesday of a pattern of manipulation and deception using the social networking site Facebook to coerce male schoolmates into sexual encounters.

Anthony R. Stancl, 18, posing as a female on Facebook, persuaded at least 31 boys to send him naked pictures of themselves and then blackmailed some of the boys into performing sex acts under the threat that the pictures would be released to the rest of the high school, according a criminal complaint. [...]

The sexual assaults occurred in a bathroom at the high school, the school parking lot, a New Berlin Public Library restroom, Valley View Park, Malone Park, Minooka Park and at some of the victims' homes.

I'm glad this man is being charged and I hope his 7 or more victims aren't blamed, mocked or dismissed as not being real victims because physical force wasn't used in these reported crimes. For consent to be genuine it must be freely given. Clearly communicating lack of consent is never a requirement and should not be treated like it is consent when sex crime statutes are applied.

Stancl originally came to the police's attention because of bomb threats against the school. During that investigation another boy came forward and reported being sexually assaulted.
Stancl's attorney, Craig M. Kuhary, said Stancl has cooperated with authorities during the investigation and is not a flight risk. After the hearing, Kuhary declined to comment, except to say that only one side of the case has been disclosed.

This is typical.

Because of approximately 300 images of underage boys and because of professionally made child porn found on Stancl's computer which resulted in child porn charges even a defense of, "it was consensual" will not protect Stancl from all accountability -- unless his attorney convinces a jury that Stancl might not be the one who put those images on his computer and is the victim of a mass conspiracy.

This nonsense has worked when girls are the victim so it will likely be attempted when boys are the victim.

Just as with cases where a man or boy has multiple female victims, police believe there are more boys who were victims of Stancl who have not come forward.

This case highlights why warnings about online predators that are directed only at girls misses the mark. Boys need to know that they are not immune from being targeted and they need to know that absence of physical force doesn't mean they weren't the victim of a sex criminal.

This case also highlights that those who use the Internet to commit sex crimes may not be a stranger to their victims. Unfortunately, many warnings related to the Internet assume that the danger comes only from strangers.

Awareness is not about requiring potential victims to live paranoid lives, it is about teaching children and adults to detect warning signs in the behavior of others and in their own behavior.


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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:23 AM   1 comments links to this post


At February 09, 2009 7:07 PM, Blogger SafeLibraries said...

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. Another rape in another bathroom of another public library, let alone all the other places. What a sad story.


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