Virtual Library of Newspaper Articles

Academics see sex crimes in schoolyard 'Kids need to think'

NATIONAL POST, May 9, 2002, by Tom Blackwell

Anyone who spends much time in an elementary schoolyard has likely seen it -- children making lewd jokes at others' expense, pinching fellow students' buttocks and rating their classmates' body parts.

A new Canadian study confirms that such behaviour is, in fact, widespread among both boys and girls as early as in Grade 6. But the authors say the conduct should be viewed as sexual harassment, with the potential to do real damage to young people.

Previous studies had suggested the roots of the problem lay in the high school years.

But psychologists at York and Queen's Universities found that sexual harassment begins much earlier, perhaps related to children entering puberty.

Jennifer Connolly, one of the key authors along with Loren McMaster, acknowledged that many people would consider the behaviour to be a relatively innocuous part of growing up, just as they viewed bullying until the last few years. But it is time for schools and parents to make it clear that such harassment is not acceptable, she said yesterday.

"If 70% of a workplace reported they had been victim of that in the last six months, can you imagine the lawsuits? And yet we allow this to be common in the school environment," said Ms. Connolly, a psychology professor at York University.

"Kids need to think and talk about it and become aware of what they're doing... Certainly in the adult world it's against the law to act that way."

Examples of the actions ranged from spreading sexual rumours about someone to showing explicit pictures, and "flashing" another student, said the paper published recently in the British journal Development and Psychopathology.

Other research in high schools has determined that students who are victims of sexual harassment tend to suffer from depression and miss school, she said.

Judith Levine, a New York-based writer who argues that society has a dangerously punitive attitude toward any form of sexuality among children and teenagers, said she is not surprised by the Canadian study's findings.

"Hang around with three sixth-grade boys for 20 minutes and you will hear some vernacular expression for penis. They're obsessed."

Ms. Levine contends in a controversial new book that society does Read More ..rm than good when it clamps down on natural sexual exploration in the young.

But she agreed with the authors that sexual harassment -- unwanted sexual conduct -- is unacceptable and should be discouraged by the school system. "It's extremely distressing to see that we haven't made much progress," she said.

Researchers surveyed 1,213 Grade 6-8 students at Toronto-area schools on whether they had perpetrated or been the victim of unwanted sexual behaviour in the previous six weeks.

Among the boys, 36 per cent reported doing the harassing, while 42 per cent said they had been victims. Of the girls, 21% admitted perpetrating the behaviour and 38% said they had been victims. The most common behaviours were anti-gay name calling, sexual jokes, comments and gestures, and being flashed or mooned.

Copyright 2002 National Post Online. National Post Online is a CanWest Publication.

Associated Press logo

Woman convicted of killing 3 kids after custody battle

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, USA, August 26, 2008

HELSINKI, Finland - A court in Finland has convicted a woman of murdering her three young children and has given her a life sentence.

The Espoo District Court says Thai-born Yu-Hsiu Fu was found guilty of strangling her 8-year-old twin daughters and 1-year-old son in her home.

She tried to kill herself afterward.

The verdict on Tuesday says the 41-year-old woman was found to be of sound mind at the time of the murders.

Court papers show the murders were preceded by a bitter custody battle with her Finnish husband who was living separately from her at the time of the murders.

A life sentence in Finland mean convicts usually serve at least 11 years in prison.

Canadian Press - New Brunswick woman ruled responsible in burning of baby's body

New Brunswick woman ruled responsible in burning of baby's body

ST. STEPHEN, N.B. - A New Brunswick judge says a woman who burned and dismembered her newborn son is criminally responsible for her actions.

Becky Sue Morrow earlier pleaded guilty to offering an indignity to a dead body and disposing of a newborn with the intent of concealing a delivery.

Judge David Walker ruled Friday that the 27-year-old woman may have been suffering from a mental disorder when she delivered the baby but that that was not the case when the baby's body was burned and its remains hidden.

It is not known if the baby was alive at the time of birth.

At a hearing last month, the court heard contrasting reports from the two psychiatrists. One said Ms. Morrow was in a "disassociated" mental state when the crime occurred. The other said she clearly planned her actions and understood the consequences.

Mothers Who Kill Their Children
Canadian Press - Mother child abuse - sentenced 16 years in jail

Ontario woman convicted of son's starvation death granted full parole

Canadian Press
Wednesday, May. 22, 2002

KINGSTON, Ont. (CP) -- An Ontario woman who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in one of Canada's stiffest penalties for child abuse will be released on full parole after serving less than half her term.

Lorelei Turner, 38, and her husband Steven were convicted of manslaughter in July 1995 for beating and starving their three-year-old son John to death in a case that horrified Canadians who followed the trial.

But on Wednesday, a panel of the National Parole Board in this eastern Ontario city ruled Turner will be released but placed on probation until July 2011.

Until then, she must remain within 25 kilometres of her residence, is not allowed unsupervised contact with anyone under 16, and must continue to receive counselling.

"The board would have looked at the risk and obviously found a low risk to reoffend," Carol Sparling of the National Parole Board said Wednesday.

Mainichi Daily News| Woman who cut off her newborn son's genitals handed 5-year prison term

Woman who cut off her newborn son's private parts handed 5-year prison term

Mainichi Daily News, Sakai, Osaka, Japan, November 26, 2006

SAKAI, Osaka -- A woman accused of cutting off her newborn son's private parts in 2004 was ordered Monday to spend five years behind bars.

The Sakai branch of the Osaka District Court convicted Shizue Tamura, 27, a resident of Izumi, Osaka Prefecture, of inflicting bodily injury.

"The way she committed the crime was unprecedented, inhumane and cruel," Presiding Judge Masahiro Hosoi said as he handed down the ruling. Prosecutors had demanded an eight-year prison term.  Read More ..

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Health Canada

Aggressive Girls
Overview Paper

This overview paper summarizes recent research on girls who exhibit aggressive and violent behaviours. It defines relevant terms, outlines factors which may contribute to girls' aggression and violence, and presents ideas for preventing these behaviours. A list of resources is also included. 2002, 13p.  Read More ..

Mothers Who Kill Their Children
Canadian Press - Mother child abuse - sentenced 16 years in jail

Ontario woman convicted of son's starvation death granted full parole

Canadian Press
Wednesday, May. 22, 2002

KINGSTON, Ont. (CP) -- An Ontario woman who was sentenced to 16 years in prison in one of Canada's stiffest penalties for child abuse will be released on full parole after serving less than half her term.

Lorelei Turner, 38, and her husband Steven were convicted of manslaughter in July 1995 for beating and starving their three-year-old son John to death in a case that horrified Canadians who followed the trial.

But on Wednesday, a panel of the National Parole Board in this eastern Ontario city ruled Turner will be released but placed on probation until July 2011.

Until then, she must remain within 25 kilometres of her residence, is not allowed unsupervised contact with anyone under 16, and must continue to receive counselling.

"The board would have looked at the risk and obviously found a low risk to reoffend," Carol Sparling of the National Parole Board said Wednesday.

AAP

Yeeda Topham killed her baby son but walks free

Australian Associated Press
December 05, 2008

A WOMAN who killed her infant son by jumping with him from the eighth floor of a city apartment block has walked free after being convicted of manslaughter.

Yeeda Topham, 40, of Roleystone near Perth, had pleaded guilty in the West Australian Supreme Court to a charge of unlawfully killing 21-month-old James Topham on November 5 last year.    Read More ..

Mother Charged with Killing Her Baby

Firefighters Find Baby's Body In Washing Machine

Fire Officials Claim Fire Intentionally Set

NBC4-TV, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

LOS ANGELES, USA -- Murder charges are expected to be filed against a woman whose infant son's body was found in a washing machine after firefighters doused what they say was an intentionally set fire, authorities said Tuesday.

Latunga Starks, 32, was taken into custody last night, according to the Sheriff's Department Web site.

Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Dennis Shirey identified the mother and her nearly 3-month-old son, Michael Kelvin Thompson.

Toronto Sun - Mother found guilty of killing all 4 babies

"Murder in the nursery"
Australian mom killed her 4 babies

TORONTO SUN, May 23, 2003

It seemed a tragic coincidence - at first.

Craig and Kathleen Folbigg's first son died in his sleep at 19 days old. Their next child, Patrick, died two years later at nine months.

Still, it was after their fourth baby died before Australian police suspected something was terribly wrong.

In Sydney's New South Wales State Supreme Court this week, Kathleen Folbigg, 35, was found guilty of killing all four of her babies.

The jury's work would have been made much easier if they had been allowed to read Folbigg's entire secret diary. In it, she practically confesses to following in her dad's deadly footsteps.

"Obviously I am my father's daughter," the Australian woman wrote in her diary Oct. 14, 1996, having already killed three of her four children.

"But I think losing my temper and being frustrated and everything has passed. I now just let things happen and go with the flow. An attitude I should of had with all my children, if given the chance, I'll have it with the next one."

Folbigg was pregnant at the time with her fourth child. She would go on to kill her as well.