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PostPosted: Tue Jun 06, 2017 2:23 pm 
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Puerto Rico mayor accused of sexual harassment resigns
June 5, 2017

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- A Puerto Rico mayor accused of sexually harassing a policewoman who filed a complaint against him is resigning.

Hector O'Neill submitted a letter Monday stepping down after more than two decades as mayor of the wealthy city of Guaynabo just southwest of the U.S. island's capital. His action came months after Puerto Rico's governor and many of its citizens demanded his resignation. Officials last month indefinitely suspended O'Neill and demanded he turn over any government property, including cars and cellphones.

Authorities are investigating claims that O'Neill paid nearly a half million dollars to the police officer and her boyfriend. O'Neill has said that the case was privately resolved and that no public funds were used.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 12:36 am 
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China accuses outspoken tycoon in US of rape
By GERRY SHIH
31 August 2017

BEIJING (AP) -- Escalating efforts to repatriate one of the ruling Communist Party's most wanted exiles, Chinese police have opened an investigation on a new allegation, rape, against New York-based billionaire Guo Wengui, who has been releasing what he calls official secrets ahead of a pivotal party leadership conference.

Two Chinese officials with direct knowledge of the investigation told the Associated Press that police are requesting a second Interpol arrest notice for Guo, 50, for the alleged sexual assault of a 28-year-old former personal assistant. Guo and his representatives did not respond to repeated requests for comment, though Guo told a Chinese news outlet Friday the rape allegations were a Chinese government ploy to silence him.

The rape allegation represents a new element in the sprawling case that Chinese prosecutors are building against the real estate tycoon, who is being investigated for at least 19 major criminal cases. Allegations against him include bribing a top Chinese intelligence official, kidnapping, fraud and money laundering.

The AP reviewed documents related to the rape investigation and confirmed their contents with Chinese official sources in Beijing, who requested anonymity to discuss an ongoing case. The Chinese officials' disclosures to the AP - an unusual move given the political sensitivity of Guo's case in China - underscores Beijing's urgent effort to not only bring a fugitive to heel on criminal charges but also silence a potent irritant in the run-up to a key Communist Party congress during which political stability and the stifling of any challenges to the party head, President Xi Jinping, are paramount.

Although the United States does not have an extradition agreement with China, Beijing hopes that a mounting body of evidence could sway the U.S. government against extending the exiled businessman's visa, which is believed to expire in October, the Chinese officials said. Senior U.S. and Chinese officials have discussed the allegations against Guo, according to a third person with direct knowledge of the talks. The Chinese officials are asking the U.S. to cancel Guo's visa, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to disclose the discussions. It's unclear what steps Washington plans to take, if any. The White House would not comment on the matter.

The Guo saga highlights how China's efforts to repatriate elite Chinese seeking refuge on American soil have become increasingly contentious. The U.S. government has often refused Beijing's demands to extradite corruption suspects, citing flimsy evidence and China's opaque justice system. But the U.S. has sent back two Chinese fugitives in the past three months, including one suspected of rape.

In recent months, Guo has become a widely followed - and, in the eyes of China's leadership, highly destabilizing - social media presence by serving up sensational, if mostly unverifiable, tales of corruption and scandal within the Communist Party's innermost sanctum, including among Xi's closest allies.

In a daily stream of Twitter posts and YouTube videos tracked by Chinese who follow political gossip, Guo has revealed what he claims are everything from top leaders' secret homes in California to their bank account information and hidden stakes in business empires. He has vowed to continue airing the party's secrets until China unfreezes his assets and releases his relatives who have been detained by authorities, he says, as leverage against him.

Pressure on Guo has been building since April when Interpol issued a "red notice" seeking his arrest on corruption-related charges. Chinese authorities later sentenced several of his employees for fraud in June. Police in central China opened the rape investigation July 5 after a former employee came forward, the officials said.

In interviews with police, the woman described how she was plucked from her human resources position at Guo's real estate company in Hong Kong in 2015 and sent overseas to become his personal assistant. The woman, whose identity is being withheld by the AP, said that over the next two years, she was raped several times in New York, London and the Bahamas by Guo, who she said demanded sex from female employees as a test of their loyalty.

At times, she said, she languished in virtual detention after Guo's staff confiscated her smartphone, computer, passport and keys and forbade her from leaving her room in his luxury apartment in the high-end London neighborhood of Belgravia. To prove her case, the woman surreptitiously met a lawyer friend in London earlier this year to give a written statement about her ordeal and kept her underwear, pregnancy tests and abortion pills as evidence, according to police documents.

In a brief phone interview with the AP arranged by Chinese officials, the woman confirmed the account and described fleeing Guo's apartment to the Chinese Embassy in London in April to apply for a new passport before returning to China. She said she was speaking of her own volition and that police had assured her she could bring charges against Guo without facing repercussions for having worked for a highly sought-after fugitive. "I just want him to face justice for what he did to me," she said.

Calls to Guo's mobile phone since Tuesday evening in New York rang unanswered. Guo also did not respond to multiple requests for comment sent by an AP reporter to his WhatsApp mobile messaging account since Tuesday. Lawyers representing him at the New York firm Boies Schiller Flexner did not respond to requests for comment.

In a livestreamed interview early Friday with Mingjing News, a Chinese-language overseas news outlet blocked in China, Guo said the rape allegations were "100 percent baseless." "If I really raped (the accuser) repeatedly, why didn't she accuse me in New York after the first time, where the law is stronger? Why in China?" he said, adding sardonically that it would have been "great" if he had been detained by police and kept in the U.S. Guo also acknowledged he received an AP request for comment two days ago and did not respond. "I wanted them to publish," Guo told Mingjing.

Interpol declined to comment about the latest warrant China is seeking for Guo's arrest, referring questions to national authorities as is the policy in ongoing investigations.

Born into poverty in central China, Guo transformed himself from a humble gasoline speculator into a real estate mogul who jet-setted with the likes of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Key to his spectacular rise, according to investigative profiles in Chinese media, was an ability to befriend officials in China's powerful security apparatus who helped him intimidate business rivals, secure deals and gain insights into the secret lives of the Chinese elite.

In one instance, according to these reports, Guo won the rights to build the iconic Pangu tower in 2006 as part of Beijing's Olympics development project by working with Ma Jian, who later became China's chief of counterintelligence, to obtain a sex tape of a Beijing vice mayor who had blocked Guo's initial bid.

In 2015, anti-corruption investigators detained Ma and later accused him of accepting $8.8 million in bribes from Guo, who fled the country. Prior to that, Guo had enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with China's intelligence service, even helping to repatriate overseas fugitives, he later said in his YouTube videos.

Guo in 2015 hired American private investigators to fan out across the U.S. to look for Ling Wancheng, the fugitive brother of a disgraced top aide to a former Chinese president who possibly sought to defect, a person involved in that search effort told the AP. The person was legally barred from discussing the case publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Months later, Chinese agents arrived in the U.S. to search for Ling in a covert operation that angered U.S. officials, underscoring how the issue of politically connected Chinese fleeing to the U.S. has strained relations. "With political cases such as Ling Wancheng and Guo Wengui, the U.S. seems reluctant to send them back because both have valuable classified information about the top echelons of the party," said Willy Lam, an expert on Chinese politics at Chinese University of Hong Kong. "This phenomenon is a big plus for the CIA and FBI."

Lam said that although it is unlikely that Washington would send Guo back given his intelligence value, President Donald Trump "could potentially play the 'fugitive card' to put pressure on Beijing to make concessions on issues ranging from trade to North Korea." The prospect of becoming a bargaining chip has worried Guo, according to a leaked audio recording of a meeting he held earlier this year with former U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, who offered to lobby the Trump administration for a visa extension.

A spokeswoman for Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, the law firm where Johnson is partner, said a meeting between Guo and Johnson "several months ago about a possible representation appears to have been recorded and released," but the firm ultimately did not take on Guo as a client. "I want to help you," Johnson says in the edited recording that recently surfaced online. "I am the only member of Barack Obama's Cabinet that has met with Donald Trump."

In the recording, Johnson suggests Guo meet with FBI agents and consider donating to human rights organizations to strengthen his case to remain in the U.S. After Guo expresses concern that Trump had already "made a deal" with the Chinese, Johnson and an unidentified woman who appears to be a Guo adviser quickly assure him that Trump would not give him up. "He would be violating your rights," Johnson says, while the adviser points out that Guo, who goes by the name Miles Kwok, should also consider his membership in a Trump resort in Florida as a factor working in his favor. "Miles is a member of Mar-a-Lago," she says, before Guo bursts into laughter.

AP writers Lori Hinnant in Paris and Julie Pace in Washington contributed to this report.
Source: AP

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 6:37 pm 
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Seattle Mayor Ed Murray resigns after fifth child sex-abuse allegation
By Jim Brunner, Daniel Beekman and Lewis Kamb
September 12, 2017

For five months, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray rejected calls for his resignation amid allegations he sexually abused teens decades before entering politics. But Murray couldn’t withstand a devastating new allegation from within his own family.

He announced his resignation Tuesday, hours after news emerged that a younger cousin was publicly accusing Murray of molesting him in New York in the 1970s. Murray, a former Democratic state legislator elected mayor in 2013, didn’t appear in public to make the announcement. Instead, he issued a statement saying his resignation would be effective 5 p.m. Wednesday. “While the allegations against me are not true, it is important that my personal issues do not affect the ability of our city government to conduct the public’s business,” the mayor said. He added he was proud of his accomplishments in a long political career, including landmark gay civil-rights laws and enactment of a $15 minimum hourly wage.

It was a stunning end to a monthslong drama that has seen five men step forward to accuse Murray of sexually abusing them years ago, when they were teenagers. Since the allegations began to emerge in April, Murray has continued to say he is innocent. Though he ended his re-election campaign in May, Murray until Tuesday had insisted he would not resign, despite calls for his exit. “The accumulation of these accusations and now coming from a family member just made it essential that he resign,” said City Councilmember Tim Burgess.

Council President Bruce Harrell will temporarily serve as mayor and will decide within five days whether to take on the role of acting mayor past the Nov. 7 election. Harrell may turn down the position of acting mayor because accepting it would require him to give up his council seat. If he demurs, the council will pick another of its members to serve until the election results are certified.

In a statement, Harrell said his “heart goes out” to survivors of sexual abuse due to “the re-traumatization these allegations have caused… These accusations are unspeakable and require the utmost attention from our legal and social-service system no matter how long ago they might have occurred,” he said. The city “must focus on governance and day-to-day business without distraction,” Harrell added, saying he has a plan in place for a “seamless transition.”

Councilmember Kshama Sawant blasted her colleagues for failing to push Murray out. Before Tuesday, she and M. Lorena González were the only council members to call on the mayor to resign. “Unfortunately, the majority of the City Council failed to show any such leadership,” Sawant said. “Establishment politicians and political operatives do not show courage on an ordinary basis, so this is yet another example.”

Asked why he had held off on calling for Murray’s ouster, Burgess said the new allegations felt different. “I don’t know what to believe. I don’t know if we’ll ever know the truth in this situation,” he said.

Murray’s midday announcement came soon after The Seattle Times reported on allegations by the mayor’s cousin, Joseph Dyer, 54. The fifth man to publicly accuse Murray of child sexual abuse, Dyer says he was 13 when Murray forced him into sex when the two shared a bedroom at Dyer’s mother’s home in Medford, New York, in the mid-1970s. “We were very glad to hear that he’s resigned,” the mother, Maryellen Sottile, said Tuesday afternoon. “We hope it helps the others in some way.”

Murray, 62, has repeatedly denied that he sexually abused anyone, contending the accusations are part of a political takedown targeting him for his progressive politics and record as a gay-rights champion. He attributed the latest claims to bad blood between two estranged wings of the family.

Another accuser, Jeff Simpson, a former foster son of Murray’s who claims Murray began abusing him at age 13, said of the resignation: “I couldn’t believe it. I was like, you know what? God is good. When you’re doing the right thing and don’t quit before the miracle, God takes care of stuff. It’s just on his time.”

Simpson met Murray while growing up in a Portland group home for troubled children in the late 1970s. He tried to bring attention to his allegation in 2008, when Murray was in the Legislature, but his account was never publicly reported. In July, newly released documents showed that an Oregon child-welfare investigator in 1984 had found Simpson’s allegations valid. On Tuesday, Simpson said, “If nothing else happens, and nothing else comes of it, for me, I will be OK. Because I believe I got my story out.”

A third accuser, Lloyd Anderson, who met Murray in the same Portland group home as Simpson, issued a statement through his lawyer. “I feel victory, but saddened that it required another victim to come forward for him to resign. I wonder how many other victims are out there,” said Anderson, who has alleged he was paid for sex as a teenager by Murray in the 1980s in Portland.

Delvonn Heckard, who sued Murray earlier this year over alleged abuse, expressed relief. “I mean, at least the public knows that everything I was saying was the truth, right?” he said. “I’m not just some crackhead, some criminal, some street kid, I was telling the truth … It’s not just me, or one or two guys. It’s his own cousin, too.”

Heckard dropped his case against the mayor in June, saying he would refile. On Tuesday, he said he’s eager to do so. “I want to face him so bad. I still want to face him,” Heckard said. “I am going to get my attorney and make sure he’s going to file that lawsuit, now that he’s not the mayor anymore. We need to continue on. He needs to see all of us, all his victims.”

Though the Seattle LGBTQ Commission and Seattle Human Rights Commission joined council members Sawant and González in calling for Murray to resign this summer, he retained support from others on the council and from four former mayors. That remaining support deteriorated Tuesday. “Given the new allegations … the mayor is making the right decision [to resign],” former Mayor Greg Nickels, who before had said Murray should be allowed to finish his term, said in an email.

Former U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan had previously declined to call for Murray to quit. She amended her view Tuesday, shortly before the mayor’s announcement. “It’s clear that it is in everybody’s best interest for him to resign,” Durkan said in a statement. “As a parent, former public official and openly gay woman, these allegations are beyond sad and tragic; no official is above the law.”

City planner Cary Moon on Tuesday reiterated her previous criticisms, saying the mayor’s response to the allegations had been “deeply inappropriate and harmful, especially to survivors, LGBTQ people and young people everywhere.” She added, “Survivors of sexual assault must be believed and treated with respect.”

Simpson summed up the news this way: “Is it justice, is it closure? I don’t know. But this definitely — this is a major step in the right direction.”

Source: Seattle Times

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:12 am 
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Oklahoma senator booked on sexual battery charge and resigns
By SEAN MURPHY and KEN MILLER
September 12, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- An Oklahoma state senator accused of grabbing an Uber driver's head and kissing her neck while she was driving him to a bar both resigned from office and was booked into jail Tuesday after being charged last week with felony sexual battery.

Bryce Marlatt, 40, a Republican from the western Oklahoma city of Woodward, was booked into the Oklahoma County jail Tuesday morning and later released on a $5,000 bond. Marlatt's two paragraph letter of resignation to Gov. Mary Fallin, also a Republican, said he is resigning immediately. "My service on behalf of the people of Northwest and the panhandle of Oklahoma has been the privilege of my career," the letter said, without addressing the allegations against him.

A married father of four, Marlatt was charged after the Uber driver told police he groped her after she picked him up from an Oklahoma City restaurant on June 26. Marlatt previously said he was shocked by the allegations. His attorney, Scott Adams, declined comment beyond confirming that Marlatt has resigned his office. If convicted, Marlatt faces up to 10 years in prison.

In a statement, Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz, a Republican from Altus, said Marlatt "made the right decision" in stepping down. "We all must face the consequences of the decisions we make," Schulz said. "I hope now he is able to focus completely on his family and the legal matter before him."

In court documents filed last Wednesday, an Oklahoma City police detective said the Uber driver told investigators that Marlatt stumbled into her car and commented on her appearance when she picked him up from the restaurant. She said during the ride, he grabbed her and kissed her neck and shoulder. "He made a comment that if she worked for him then he would 'feel' her up," Detective Natalie Cannon wrote in an affidavit accompanying the charge.

Marlatt was removed as chairman of the Senate Energy Committee and as vice chairman of two other Senate panels by Schulz when the allegations surfaced in July.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 6:16 am 
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4 sex scandals linked to GOP at Oklahoma Capitol in 2017
September 13, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A Democratic schoolteacher who defeated a Republican businessman in a special election for an Oklahoma state House seat in a traditionally GOP district tapped into growing voter frustration over state budget problems and several recent sex scandals involving Republicans at the state Capitol. A look at four sex scandals from this year:

STATE SEN. BRYCE MARLATT

Republican state Sen. Bryce Marlatt of the western Oklahoma city of Woodward resigned from office Tuesday after being booked on one felony count of sexual battery. He was released on a $5,000 bond. Marlatt was charged after an Uber driver told police he groped her after she picked him up from an Oklahoma City restaurant on June 26. Marlatt has said he was shocked by the allegations. If convicted, he faces up to 10 years in prison.

EX-GOVERNOR'S AIDE TRAVIS BRAUER

Charges were filed Tuesday against a former staffer for Republican Gov. Mary Fallin after authorities say he was investigated on allegations that he took a photo or video up a woman's skirt at the State Capitol. Travis Goss Brauer faces charges of offering false or fraudulent evidence, a felony, and a misdemeanor charge of destruction of evidence after authorities allege he destroyed or altered a mobile phone and a laptop that were part of an investigation by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. Court records do not indicate whether Brauer has an attorney.

EX-STATE SEN. RALPH SHORTEY

Former Republican state Sen. Ralph Shortey of Oklahoma City was charged last week in a four-count federal indictment with child sex trafficking and producing and transporting child pornography. Shortey had resigned in March after being charged in state court with child prostitution after police say they found him in a hotel with a 17-year-old boy. If convicted of the federal charges, Shortey could face up to life in prison. His attorney did not respond to telephone calls seeking comment on the case.

EX-STATE REP. DAN KIRBY

Former GOP state Rep. Dan Kirby of Tulsa resigned in February after being accused of sexually harassing two former legislative assistants. Kirby admitted asking one legislative aide to send him topless photos and accompany him to a strip club, but he maintained the relationship was consensual and he denied sexually harassing anyone. He was not charged criminally but his resignation came just days after a special House committee recommended he be expelled from office.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:59 pm 
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‘Rock bottom’: Weiner gets 21 months in prison for sexting
By TOM HAYS and LARRY NEUMEISTER
September 25, 2017

NEW YORK (AP) — Anthony Weiner’s sexting compulsion cost him his seat in Congress, his shot at becoming New York mayor and his marriage, and may have even denied Hillary Clinton the presidency. On Monday, it cost him his freedom.

Weiner, 53, dropped his head into his hands and wept as a federal judge sentenced him to 21 months behind bars for illicit online contact with a 15-year-old girl, his tears flowing long after the gavel came down on a case he called his “rock bottom.” As his parents but not his wife looked on in the courtroom, the New York Democrat was given until Nov. 6 to report to prison for misconduct that included getting the North Carolina high school student to strip and touch herself on Skype and Snapchat.

In handing down the sentence, U.S. District Judge Denise Cote cited a need in such a highly publicized case to “make a statement that can protect other minors.” The judge said Weiner’s habit of exchanging sexually explicit messages and pictures with young women shows a “very strong compulsion” — so strong that “despite two very public disclosures and the destruction of his career on two occasions, he continued with the activity.”

Calling himself “a very sick man for a very long time,” Weiner tearfully apologized to the teen and sought to assure the judge he had finally learned his lesson. He has been undergoing therapy. “I stand before you because I victimized a young person who deserved better,” he said, adding, “Your Honor, I’m not asking that you trust that my recovery is real. I ask you for the opportunity to prove that it is real.”

Wearing a wedding band, he also spoke of his devotion to the 5-year-old son he has with his wife, Huma Abedin, formerly Clinton’s closest aide. The couple is going through a divorce.

But prosecutor Amanda Kramer urged the judge to give Weiner a significant prison sentence to end his “tragic cycle” of getting caught sexting. Weiner’s habit led him to resign his House seat in 2011, doomed his 2013 run for mayor, and rocked Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign during the closing days of the race, when FBI agents investigating his contact with the teen came across emails on his laptop between Abedin and Clinton.

That discovery prompted then-FBI Director James Comey to announce in late October 2016 that he was reopening the probe of Clinton’s use of a private computer server. Two days before Election Day, the FBI declared there was nothing new in the emails. But in a recent interview, Clinton called Comey’s intervention “the determining factor” in her defeat.

Weiner, once he has completed his prison sentence, must undergo internet monitoring and enroll in a sex-offender treatment program. He also was fined $10,000. After the sentencing was over, he sat crying for several minutes in the courtroom. He left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.

Weiner’s behavior in all its lurid detail — including his online alias “Carlos Danger” and a selfie of his bulging underwear — turned him and his last name into an irresistible punchline for late-night comics and mortified his wife again and again.

Weiner attorney Arlo Devlin-Brown said his client probably exchanged thousands of messages with hundreds of women over the years and was communicating with up to 19 women when he encountered the teenager. He cited the nation’s capacity to forgive, recalling that Weiner, even after resigning from Congress in disgrace, was leading the New York mayoral primary race when new sexting disclosures emerged. “In America they say there are second acts, but there are no third acts,” the attorney said, “and after that Anthony was finished.”

Associated Press writer Colleen Long in New York contributed to this story.
Source: AP

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 11:42 pm 
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Late British PM Heath suspected of abusing five boys
by Robin MILLARD
5 October 2017

LONDON (AFP) - Former British prime minister Edward Heath would have been questioned over claims that he sexually assaulted five boys if he was still alive, police announced Thursday.

Heath, who was Britain's premier between 1970 and 1974, is alleged to have raped an 11-year-old boy during a paid sexual encounter, officers revealed following a mammoth two-year investigation. Heath, who died in 2005 aged 89, would have been interviewed under caution over seven allegations dating between 1961 and 1992, relating to five boys and two adult men.

"Sir Edward Heath was an extremely prominent, influential and high-profile person who was arguably one of the most powerful people in the world," Wiltshire police chief constable Mike Veale said, announcing the investigation's findings. "The allegations against him were of the utmost seriousness and from a significant number of people."

The £1.5 million ($2 million, 1.7 million euro) probe was triggered in 2015 after Heath was named as a suspect in an investigation into so-called historical child sex abuse. Of the 42 allegations made against Heath, seven were sufficiently credible to justify the police questioning him under caution. Those allegations including the rape and indecent assault of an 11-year-old boy during a paid sexual encounter in 1961 and the indecent assault of a 10-year-old boy in 1962. In addition, he allegedly indecently assaulted two boys aged 15 in the 1960s, and one aged between 12 and 14 in the early 1990s, as well as two adult males in 1976 and between 1990 and 1992.

Six people named Heath in accusations of satanic or ritual abuse, but police found no corroborative evidence. No inference of guilt was made by the report.

Heath led the Conservative Party from 1965 until 1975 when he was ousted by Margaret Thatcher -- something which he never forgave her for. As prime minister, he took Britain into the European Economic Community in 1973, and was known as a dour bachelor who loved sailing and classical music.

Heath rarely spoke about his private life despite years of media insinuations that he was gay, at a time when any public declaration of homosexuality would have impeded a top-flight political career. Heath's supporters have described him as "asexual" and suggest the allegations were unlikely due to the level of close police protection he would have had from 1970 onwards.

Friends called for a judge-led investigation to reach conclusions, as the police report "neither justifies nor dispels the cloud of suspicion". Heath's reputation "should not be left in limbo", said Robert Armstrong, a former top civil servant, and David Hunt, chairman of Heath's charitable foundation. "All those who knew Sir Edward Heath or worked with him are, without exception, convinced that the allegations of child abuse will all be found to be groundless," they said in a joint statement.

The number of abuse allegations being made in Britain has surged since one of the BBC's top presenters, Jimmy Savile, was exposed as a serial paedophile after his 2011 death. A vast, judge-led inquiry has been opened into child sexual abuse at a string of British institutions from parliament to the BBC, children's homes to churches. Regarding the Heath allegations, "the inquiry will investigate whether there was any knowledge within Westminster institutions, and if so, what actions were taken", a spokeswoman said.

Source: AFP

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:54 pm 
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Hustler publisher Larry Flynt offers $10 million for info leading to Trump impeachment
October 16, 2017

Hustler Magazine publisher Larry Flynt offered $10 million Sunday for dirt to help remove from office US President Donald Trump, in a full page ad in the Washington Post.

"I do not expect any of Trump's billionaire cronies to rat him out, but I am confident that there are many people in the know for whom $10 million is a lot of money," he said in the ad. The porn magazine founder noted that he had used million dollar cash rewards before to elicit information that helped upend the careers of two Republican politicians. "For the current crisis, I have upped the ante to $10 million," he wrote. "Make no mistake, I fully intend to pay this entire sum."

The top of the ad, written in all caps, reads simply: "$10 MILLION FOR INFORMATION LEADING TO THE IMPEACHMENT AND REMOVAL FROM OFFICE OF DONALD J. TRUMP." It goes on to question the legitimacy of Trump's election and lists offenses ranging from Trump's alleged collusion with Russian meddling in the US election to his sabotaging the Paris climate accord. "But most worrisome is that, long before climate-change apocalypse strikes, Trump might trigger a nuclear world war," he wrote. "Impeachment would be a messy, contentious affair, but the alternative -- three more years of destabilizing dysfunction -- is worse."

The ad lists an email contact - hustlertipline@lfp.com - and a hotline - 1-800-251-2714, which the Post reported would be staffed on weekdays, 8:30 am to 6 pm, for the next two weeks.

Source: AFP

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2017 8:36 pm 
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British MPs slam 'disturbing' claims of sex pest culture
30 October 2017

LONDON (AFP) - The Speaker of Britain's House of Commons condemned "disturbing" allegations of a culture of sexual harassment in parliament on Monday as he urged political parties to swiftly address the issue.

John Bercow opened an emergency debate sparked by weekend newspaper revelations about the behaviour of MPs and ministers towards staff, warning there must be "zero tolerance of sexual harassment or bullying". Prime Minister Theresa May, who sat in on the debate, had earlier written to Bercow calling for tougher rules on MPs' conduct after one of her ministers was accused of asking his secretary to buy sex toys. May has ordered an investigation into the behaviour by international trade minister Mark Garnier, who is also accused of calling his now former aide "sugar tits".

However, MP after MP stood up in the chamber on Monday to warn that the problem was deeply rooted in the culture of Westminster. A list of 13 MPs accused of harassment has reportedly been circulating in Westminster in recent days, following renewed scrutiny in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal in Hollywood. The Guido Fawkes political blog meanwhile said it had a list compiled by researchers of 36 MPs accused of "inappropriate sexual behaviour".

Opposition Labour lawmaker Harriet Harman, an equalities campaigner who called the debate, said it was a "good thing" that it was now being discussed. "No one should have to work in the toxic atmosphere of sleazy, sexist or homophobic banter," she said. "This is not hysteria -- this is something which is long overdue for all the parties in this House to deal with."

May's spokesman said she had not seen any list of names but refused to comment on discussions she may have had about similar behaviour with the whips who enforce discipline in her Conservative party. The prime minister's former director of communications, Katie Perrior, said whips often held such information secret as leverage to make MPs vote a certain way. "They use that to make sure that MPs know that other people within the party know exactly what they're up to, and that behaviour either is not acceptable, or indeed it will be used against them," she told BBC television.

May had urged the Speaker to help establish a new compulsory grievance procedure to replace the current voluntary system, as well as a new mediation service to help protect staff working for MPs. One of her ministers, Leader of the House of Commons Andrea Leadsom, warned that perpetrators could be sacked. "In the case of MPs they could have the whip withdrawn (suspended) and they could be fired from ministerial office," she said. However, while Bercow said he would consider the proposals, "in the first instance I hope that parties will live up to their responsibilities".

Source: AFP

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 3:11 pm 
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Porn actress Berkova joins race for Kremlin seat
2 November 2017

Russian pornstar Elena Berkova declared that she will join the Russian presidential race ahead of an election to be held in March 2018. Berkova said her campaign would be based on plans to introduce mandatory sex education classes in Russian schools.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 02, 2017 8:53 pm 
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UK's May replaces defense chief as harassment scandal widens
By JILL LAWLESS
2 November 2017

LONDON (AP) -- The resignation of Britain's defense secretary amid a growing sexual harassment scandal is a sign that the U.K.'s corridors of power are not always a comfortable place for women.

As allegations of impropriety and abuse spread to more politicians and officials, many women are expressing hope this will be a tipping point in transforming Britain's macho political culture. Some men, though, worry they are being unfairly tainted by allegations of sexism.

Michael Fallon, a dependable lieutenant to Prime Minister Theresa May, quit as defense secretary late Wednesday, saying his past behavior "may have fallen below the high standards" expected. Fallon had apologized after a newspaper reported that he had repeatedly touched a journalist's knee at a function in 2002, and reports suggested more allegations about him might emerge.

Fallon's resignation is an unwelcome challenge for May, who is struggling to keep her fractious government united as Britain heads for the European Union exit. She replaced Fallon on Thursday with Gavin Williamson, the former Conservative chief whip.

It's also a challenge to the British political system. Multiple sexual-harassment claims against British politicians have emerged since the scandal around movie mogul Harvey Weinstein emboldened people in many industries to speak up about improper behavior by powerful individuals who control their future job prospects.

Britain's Parliament is an intense and insular place, where politicians and parties employ large numbers of young and ambitious staff. The building, full of long corridors, dark crannies and cheap bars, is the perfect stage for liaisons, intrigue - and worse. "Where you have lots of young individuals, be they men or women, with very little in terms of employment protection, it seems like the perfect environment for abuse," said Victoria Honeyman, a lecturer in politics at the University of Leeds. She said the Fallon case was likely "the tip of the iceberg." "I think there will be an awful lot of very, very worried individuals across the political spectrum," she said.

For decades, Parliament was famous for a rowdy, male-dominated culture of hard drinking, boozy debates and midnight votes. British politics also has a long history of sex scandals: The "Profumo affair" involving a government minister, a model and a Soviet attache helped bring down the Conservative government in 1963. Prime Minister John Major's early-90s government was debilitated by regular reports of embarrassing affairs.

Parliament's raucous atmosphere was dealt a blow several years ago with a move to more "family friendly" hours, with sittings starting earlier in the morning and ending earlier in the evening. One of the building's many bars has been turned into a nursery for the children of legislators and staff.

The number of female lawmakers has risen, though they are still outnumbered by men. When Margaret Thatcher became Britain's first female prime minister in 1979, only 3 percent of lawmakers were women. The figure rose to 22 percent by 2010, and to 32 percent this year.

In addition to a woman as prime minister, Scotland has a female leader in First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and women lead the Scottish Conservatives, the Welsh party Plaid Cymru and Sinn Fein in Northern Ireland.

Yet many women in politics say there is much further to go. Sophie Walker, leader of the Women's Equality Party, said the stories emerging from the worlds of entertainment, media and politics "demonstrate an epidemic of sexual harassment which is absolutely about power - a massive, endemic imbalance of power."

May has summoned party leaders to a meeting next week to discuss how to deal with harassment claims, amid worries there is more to come. The number two in May's Cabinet, Damian Green, is being investigated by officials over an allegation he made inappropriate advances to a Conservative activist. Meanwhile, the opposition Labour Party is investigating claims by a young activist that the party discouraged her from reporting that she was raped at a Labour conference in 2011, when she was 19.

A leaked document dubbed the "spreadsheet of shame" compiled by Conservative Party aides lists allegations about 36 lawmakers. The information ranges from gossipy claims of consensual affairs to allegations such as "handsy with women at parties" and "paid a woman to be quiet."

Some of those named on the list have come forward to deny wrongdoing and suggest they are victims of a witch hunt. Conservative lawmaker Dominic Raab said the document contained a false allegation that he had taken out an injunction against a woman, and accused those publishing untrue claims of "harassment and intimidation."

As claim and counterclaim flew, Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson called for major action, saying politicians are going to "need some pretty big shovels for the Augean stable" that must be cleaned. "The house clearing that is about to happen needs to happen, and we can never go back to where we were before," she said.

Source: AP

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:04 pm 
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British PM's party suspends MP over 'serious allegations'
3 November 2017

LONDON (AFP) - Britain's ruling Conservatives suspended an MP Friday over unspecified "serious allegations", as Prime Minister Theresa May announced a new party code of conduct in response to a growing sexual harassment scandal.

The action was taken against lawmaker Charlie Elphicke "following serious allegations that have been referred to the police", announced chief whip Julian Smith, who enforces Conservative party discipline in parliament. Elphicke said on Twitter: "The party tipped off the press before telling me of my suspension. I am not aware of what the alleged claims are and deny any wrongdoing."

The move comes amid a deepening row over sexual abuse and harassment at Westminster, which earlier this week forced Michael Fallon to resign as defence secretary. Two other ministers remain under investigation for alleged inappropriate behaviour, including May's de facto deputy Damian Green, who denies any wrongdoing.

The opposition Labour party meanwhile on Thursday suspended one of its MPs, Kelvin Hopkins, pending an investigation into claims he sent suggestive texts and acted inappropriately -- which he strongly denies. May announced a new code of conduct on Friday for Conservatives from lawmakers through to councillors and local party officials, as well as a new complaints procedure. A new hotline will be set up for reporting breaches of the code, which will be investigated by a panel that for the first time will include an independent member.

May has also called a meeting with other party leaders on Monday to discuss improving parliament's grievance procedure, noting that many staff are not hired on a partisan basis. Even for those who are, she said it was not right that "vulnerable or concerned people" could be left to "navigate different grievance procedures".

Fallon quit as defence secretary on Wednesday, saying his behaviour had fallen short of the standards required. He had earlier admitted touching a journalist's knee 15 years ago. The Sun newspaper reported on Friday that House of Commons leader Andrea Leadsom had also complained that he made a string of inappropriate remarks to her when they were members of a parliamentary committee. May's Downing Street office said Leadsom "did not, and has not" asked her to sack Fallon while he was defence secretary.

Former chief whip Gavin Williamson was named Fallon's replacement on Thursday. His appointment triggered some dismay in Conservative ranks, with reports saying MPs were angry he had seemingly orchestrated Fallon's departure -- then became a beneficiary.

Source: AFP

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 04, 2017 9:12 pm 
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Austrian party head quits over sex harassment claims
4 November 2017

VIENNA (AFP) - Prominent Austrian politician Peter Pilz on Saturday quit parliament and stepped down as head of his newly formed anti-establishment party over sexual harassment allegations.

"I've always fought for strict standards and these standards also apply to me," the veteran leftwing MP, 63, said in a statement. The announcement came after weekly newspaper Falter confronted him early Saturday with allegations of sexual misconduct. A woman told the paper that an inebriated Pilz had groped her in 2013 at a major annual discussion forum in the western town of Alpbach. "His hands were everywhere," she was quoted as saying by Falter.

The woman said two other forum participants eventually dragged the politician away. Pilz said he could not remember the incident, but took the allegations "extremely serious".

However, Pilz rejected claims made last week by a female Greens member who also accused him of fondling her on dozens of occasions when he was still with the party. He said he would fight the allegations in court. Pilz is an old hand in Austrian politics, having co-founded the Greens party in 1986. The feisty lawmaker is renowned for his sharp tongue and tough anti-corruption investigations.

He split from the Greens in July over internal rifts and formed an anti-establishment party dubbed the "Pilz List", which won four seats in last month's snap election. The move dealt a death knell to the Greens who failed to make it into parliament. While the Pilz List has yet to nominate a new leader Styrian MP Martha Bissmann will fill the vacant parliamentary seat. "We will take on our mandate with full dedication in the spirit of our electoral promises," the party -- made up of artists, academics and entrepreneurs -- said in a statement on Saturday afternoon. Pilz meanwhile vowed to continue to work as their advisor.

The Austrian joins a growing queue of notable men from Hollywood to Brussels and London who face allegations of sexual harassment or worse. The first major headline on the issue was in October with disgraced US film producer Harvey Weinstein, but has since ensnared movie stars Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman, Britain's former defence minister Michael Fallon and senior European Parliament staff.

Source: AFP

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 10:43 pm 
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Trump endorses accused child molester Moore for Senate
December 4, 2017

WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Donald Trump on Monday issued his most explicit endorsement to date of embattled Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore, who has been accused of sexual assault by multiple women including one who was 14-years-old at the time.

Trump had previously characterized the allegations, first reported by The Washington Post, as "very troubling" before changing tack and warning voters in Moore's home state of Alabama that a victory for his Democratic rival Doug Jones "would be a disaster!"

On Monday, he cited Democrats' opposition to his legislative agenda, including tax cuts, as reasons for his support. "Democrats refusal to give even one vote for massive Tax Cuts is why we need Republican Roy Moore to win in Alabama," he tweeted. "We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more. No to Jones, a Pelosi/Schumer Puppet!" He added: "Look at your 401-k's since Election. Highest Stock Market EVER! Jobs are roaring back!" he added, referring to an employer-sponsored retirement savings plan.

Moore, a 70-year-old Christian conservative with a history of controversy stemming from his tenure on Alabama's supreme court, had been a strong favorite to win the rightwing state's special election on December 12 before the allegations broke. Most of the allegations about Moore relate to when he was a prosecutor in his mid-30s and sought to pursue relationships with teens, according to the reports.

One of the women, Leigh Corfman, now 53, said that when she was 14 Moore took her into his house in the woods near Gadsden, Alabama, removed her shirt and pants, and fondled her over her bra and underpants. Moore has denied the allegations and said they are politically motivated. The race, which is being held to replace Jeff Sessions, who was named US attorney general, has national repercussions because Republicans hold only a slim 52-to-48 majority in the senate.

Allegations of sexual harassment have plagued both of America's main political parties in recent weeks. Democrat John Conyers, a celebrated civil rights leader who is the longest-serving member of Congress, announced he was stepping down from a leadership position last month as he battles harassment claims from members of his staff.

Trump himself has been accused of misconduct by several women, ranging from groping to unwanted advances and kissing, though these did not prevent his election last year.

Source: AFP

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 12, 2017 7:09 pm 
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Model in Britain's sex-and-spy Profumo scandal dies at 75
By GREGORY KATZ and JILL LAWLESS
6 December 2017

LONDON (AP) -- Christine Keeler, the central figure in the sex-and-espionage Profumo scandal that rocked Cold War Britain, has died at 75.

Her son, Seymour Platt, posted on Facebook that Keeler died Monday at a hospital near Farnborough in southern England. Platt said on Facebook that his mother died late Monday night after suffering for several years from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. "As many of you know my mother, Christine Keeler, fought many fights in her eventful life, some fights she lost but some she won," he said. "She earned her place in British history but at a huge personal price. We are all very proud of who she was."

Keeler was a model and nightclub dancer in 1963 when she had an affair with British War Secretary John Profumo. When it emerged that Keeler had also slept with a Soviet naval attache with ties to Russian intelligence, the collision of sex, wealth and national security issues caused a sensation and helped topple the Conservative government.

Profumo eventually resigned in disgrace after lying to the House of Commons about his relationship with Keeler. He threatened at the time to sue anyone who suggested there had been any inappropriate behavior with her. The stunning sex scandal shed light on a previously well-hidden world of sex and alcohol fueled orgies among the political elite. The scandal also made Keeler famous. A naked photo of Keeler straddling the back of a chair is among the most famous U.K. images of the 1960s. She spent the rest of her life trying to escape her unwanted notoriety.

Born in 1942, Keeler left school at 15 and shortly after started working as a showgirl on Greek Street in the heart of London's Soho district, known at the time for its strip clubs and sleazy entertainment. Keeler met men like Profumo after befriending a high-society osteopath, Dr. Stephen Ward, who introduced her to a number of powerful figures.

Ward was put on trial and took a fatal overdose the night before he was convicted of living off immoral earnings. Keeler was imprisoned for nine months after admitting perjury and conspiring to obstruct justice. More than two decades later, she expressed regret: "I was just a 19-year-old girl having a good time. I loved every minute of it. But if I had known then what was going to happen, I'd have run off and not stopped until I had reached my mum."

Keeler moved on after the scandal. She was married twice and had two sons, even as pop culture breathed new life into the Profumo affair. In 2013, Andrew Lloyd Webber's stage musical "Stephen Ward" - in which Keeler was portrayed by Charlotte Spencer - premiered in London.

Source: AP

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