February 25, 2014

MILWAUKEE (CN) - A Milwaukee County jail guard raped a pregnant detainee, sexually assaulting her three times "within days of giving birth" and twice more after she had her baby while shackled, she claims in Federal Court.
Officer Xavier D. Thicklen's "abuse of his authority went wholly unchecked" by co-defendant Sheriff David A. Clarke, even though at least one of the assaults was caught on camera, Jane Doe claims in the lawsuit.
Thicklen is charged with five counts of second-degree sexual assault by correctional staff, according to Milwaukee media. He could be sent to prison for 40 years on each county.
Doe, 22, claims she was in the early stages of her first pregnancy when Thicklen raped and sexually assaulted her in the jail. Days after she gave birth, in shackles, Thicklen sexually assaulted her two more times, Doe says in the 15-page complaint.
She was housed in the general population of the jail and Thicklen was assigned to be her medical clinic officer, in charge of transporting her to and from her doctor's appointments, she claims. On the way to her first appointment, she was isolated from two other inmates who were also being taken to the clinic. She says Thicklen put her in a separate cell and told her "he could make her stay at the jail better." Thicklen then began touching her genitals and put his fingers inside her vagina without her consent, Doe says. During all his assaults, Thicklen was "cloaked in his uniform and carrying his jail-issued weapon," according to the lawsuit.
The second time she was assaulted, Doe says, she was called into the sixth floor control area for an "attorney visit." Thicklen was waiting for her there, she says, with the intent of having sex.
"Thicklen then committed anal rape of plaintiff without her consent," according to the lawsuit. "Concerned about contracting a disease, plaintiff asked Thicklen to at least use a condom, but Thicklen did not."
Doe claims that Thicklen threatened to put her into maximum security if she told anyone. The threat scared her because the maximum security area was "not suitable" for a pregnant woman, she says.
"Detainees in 'max' remain isolated in their room for approximately 23 hours a day, with little opportunity to walk around. ... (T)hey are served only 'nutriloaf,' an inedible mixture of various meats and other items that is widely understood to be used by penal institutions as a form of punishment. Plaintiff grew concerned that her pregnancy would be negatively impacted by being sent to max. "
"Thicklen also threatened plaintiff by stating that no one would believe her, and that the fellow guards were his friends, implying that they would protect him and not her.
Plaintiff was terrified of Thicklen's threats and believed that she would be punished "by reporting the assaults. She believed that the guards would not help her but would protect him instead."
The came the anal rape without a condom, she says
"The third assault came when she was called to the attorney visiting area, where Thicklen again was waiting for her to have sex, Doe says. Plaintiff did not consent. In addition, plaintiff was unwell and had been experiencing labor-related pains.
"Thicklen did not relent. He bent her over a chair and sexually assaulted her.
"After the rape, plaintiff began bleeding in a manner indicative of the onset of labor.
"Thicklen committed this act while on-duty, cloaked in his uniform and carrying his jail-issued weapon."
Thicklen's sexual assaults and sodomy were unrelenting, Doe says in the complaint.
"The fourth sexual assault occurred within days of the birth of plaintiff's child. Plaintiff was recovering in the infirmary, where Thicklen was assigned to work that day.
"Thicklen approached plaintiff and brought her a warm compress. He then asked her whether she was ready to have sex. Plaintiff refused.
"Thicklen then pulled out his penis and forced plaintiff to perform oral sex, while she was on her hospital bed."

Finally, "Plaintiff's fifth and final sexual assault occurred when Thicklen again arranged for her to be taken from her pod to the clinic for a medical appointment. Thicken told her he did not have time to deal with her resistance. He sexually assaulted her and then returned her to her cell," according to the complaint.
Doe says the no one helped her at any time, despite at least one of the assaults being caught on surveillance cameras. She claims that Thicklen's "abuse of his authority went wholly unchecked by the Sheriff, or any of the supervisors to which the Sheriff delegated his supervisory responsibilities."
She adds: "Further evidencing the failure to meaningfully supervise and discipline guards such as defendant Thicklen is the fact that his supervisor (at all relevant times) was recently suspended following accusations that - while on duty - she would perform sexual lap dances for other officers." (Parentheses in complaint.)
Doe claims: "Milwaukee County Jail directly encourages, and is thereby the moving force behind, the very type of misconduct at issue here - inappropriate sexual contact by correctional officers. As a matter of both policy and practice, the Milwaukee County Jail facilitates the very type of misconduct at issue here by failing to adequately punish and discipline prior instances of similar misconduct, thereby leading Milwaukee jail officers to believe their actions will never be scrutinized and, in that way, directly encouraging future abuses."
She calls the "widespread practice so prevalent as to comprise municipal policy" and says that municipal policymakers "condone and facilitate by their inaction, a 'code of silence.'"
She also objects to being shackled during labor and delivery of her baby. She claims that "the County of Milwaukee and Sheriff Clarke have implemented, encouraged, and/or condoned an unconstitutional policy of shackling women during labor, delivery, and/or recovery from delivery."
She seeks damages and punitive damages is suing for 14th Amendment violations, failure to intervene and indemnification.
She is represented by Robin Shellow of Milwaukee and Arthur Loevy of the Chicago firm Loevy & Loevy.
Thicklen's next court appearance is set for March 4.

DETROIT — A Michigan mother, who was accused of dismembering her son's body, was charged with his murder Monday.
Authorities revealed Monday that Donna Scrivo used an electric circular saw to dismember her adult son's body after she killed him.
The power saw was found in one of the bags in which Ramsay Scrivo's remains were discovered last month across rural parts of St. Clair County, Mich.
In a bizarre twist in his gruesome death, authorities said his mother was seen on a store security video buying the saw used to dismember her son's body.
Scrivo, 60, was denied bond during her arraignment on first-degree premeditated murder charges, the prosecutor's office said.
Authorities did not detail how Scrivo killed her 32-year-old son but an autopsy showed he died of asphyxiation. Medical Examiner Dr. Daniel Spitz ruled Monday that Ramsay Scrivo's death was a homicide.
During a bond hearing earlier this month on other charges in the case, Assistant Prosecutor William Cataldo told a district court judge that Ramsay Scrivo was "horrifically mutilated" with ligature marks on his neck and blunt-force trauma to his head and shoulders.
At that time, Cataldo told the court Ramsay Scrivo's body was probably placed in a bathtub and set on fire after it was mutilated.
Police have said that blood and bleach stains were found in Ramsay Scrivo's home, also in St. Clair Shores, and Donna Scrivo was seen carrying black garbage bags before her son's remains were found. There also was blood in her SUV, which was donated to the Mother Waddles car donation program after her son's body parts were dumped.
Scrivo was arraigned in 40th District Court in St. Clair Shores on the murder charge. A future court date has not been set. She was referred for a psychological evaluation to determine her competency to stand trial.
She previously was charged with disinterment and mutilation of a dead body and removing a body without medical examiner's permission.
Prosecutor Eric Smith said the charges "demonstrate the lengths Mrs. Scrivo went to before, during and after the murder of her son."
The case is unusual and disturbing especially after Scrivo just eight months ago sought hospitalization for and guardianship of her son, who was diagnosed with psychosis and threatened to hang himself after his father died of a terminal illness last year.
Donna Scrivo filed a missing person's report for her son Jan. 27, claiming he left his home where she also was living while her fire-damaged house was being repaired.
St. Clair Shores Police Detective Sgt. Jay Cohoe said investigators wanted some closure for the family, but have not been able to locate a missing limb, believed to be an arm.
He said investigators don't have a motive for the unique crime.
"That's been the difficult part, too, of this investigation, trying to wrap our heads around it," Cohoe said.
Mark Haddad, who was appointed by the court to represent Scrivo on the two prior charges, said a not guilty plea was entered for her on the murder charge and that her family is expected to hire private counsel for her for the murder case.
"The lady's a real sweetheart. Very pleasant, very respectful," Haddad said of Scrivo, who he previously met with. "I don't understand. ... There's gotta be more to this story."

Washington (AFP) - Acetaminophen, a common pain reliever considered safe for pregnant women, has been linked for the first time to an increased risk of attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder in children, said a study Monday.

More studies are needed to confirm the findings, but experts said the research points to a new potential cause for the worldwide rise in cases of ADHD, a neuro-behavioral condition which has no known cause and affects as many as five percent of US children.

Women who took acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol, while pregnant had a 37 percent higher risk of having a child who would be later given a hospital diagnosis of hyperkinetic disorder, a particularly severe form of ADHD, said the study in February 24 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics.

Compared to women who did not take acetaminophen while pregnant, women who did also had a 29 percent higher chance of having children who were later prescribed medications for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and a 13 percent higher chance of exhibiting ADHD-like behaviors by age seven.

Previous research has suggested that acetaminophen can interfere with normal hormone function and may affect the developing fetal brain. The painkiller has also been linked to a slightly increased risk in boys of cryptorchidism, a condition in which the testicles do not descend.

The latest research was based on survey data on more than 64,000 Danish women from 1996 to 2002.

More than half said they took acetaminophen at least once during pregnancy.

Outside experts cautioned that the observational findings do not prove that taking Tylenol-like pain relievers causes ADHD, only that a preliminary link between the two has appeared and would need to be confirmed by further research.

"Findings from this study should be interpreted cautiously and should not change practice," said an accompanying editorial in JAMA Pediatrics by Miriam Cooper and colleagues at the Cardiff University School of Medicine.

"However, they underline the importance of not taking a drug's safety during pregnancy for granted."

The reasons the women took the painkillers could have also had a confounding effect on the outcome, they added.

The study was led by Zeyan Liew, of the University of California, Los Angeles, and was co-authored by Jorn Olsen of the University of Aarhus in Denmark.

Source: Ukraine Live Blog

2308 GMT: Is Russia really sending a new fleet to Sevostopol? Before Izvestia reported this (see previous update below) Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of the far-right Svoboda party and a man known for firey rhetoric, reported the same thing.

“I can show you the SMS” said Tyahnibok, reading out: “A large landing ship from the Black Sea Fleet of the Russian Federation is expected to arrive today in Sevastopol from the Russian port of Temryuk. It will deliver around 200 armed soldiers from the 328th detached battalion of the Marines, who are based in Temryuk, and 10 BTR-80s.”

He also mentioned that “between 22-23 February, personnel of the 45th Airborne Special Forces were airlifted from Kubinka (in the Moscow area) to Anapa on Il-76 flights, and four other IL-76 flights redeployed even more divisions from Pskov to Anapa. And six Mi-8 helicopters were airlifted from Sochi to Anapa” said Mr Tyahnibok.

Now, Izvestiya is carrying a report which, it seems, has a separate source. However, the Izvestiya story is about 9 hours old. In it they said that the ships would reach Sevastopol in 4 hours at a speed of 10-15 knots so…even if they were slower, unless the fleet stopped or turned around then the ships would be there by now, and there aren’t any reports of them arriving yet.

That Izvestiya and Tyahnibok are reporting that there are ships on the move is a story in and of itself, whether or not it proves true.

2200 GMT Could Russia really invade Ukraine? Two claimed pieces of news might indeed by tidings of war. Here is a translation by Catherine A Fitzpatrick:

Russian State Duma deputies have arrived in Simferopol. The delegation is headed by Leonid Slutsky, head of the committee on the CIS. Russians promise to simplify the issuance of passports to Crimeans.

Report summarizing their statements from Oleg Kryuchkov of censor.net.ua:

“Russia is starting to give out passports under a simplified procedure. Russia demands the fulfillment of the conditions of the agreements between the opposition and Yanukovych. And the main thing is that in the event of a decision of the Crimeans to have a referendum, or an appeal to the Supreme Council of the Crimea to Russia with a request to annex…Russia will review this question very quickly. Tsekov and Aksyonov mumbled, spoke about integrity and the Russian Word festival.”

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