Tag Archives: Assault

Sexual Assault Case Against Seal Rejected by L.A. District Attorney's Office: Report

The sexual battery case filed against Seal by a former neighbor has been rejected by the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office, TMZ reports. The 54-year-old “Kiss from a Rose” singer will not face any criminal charges.

In January, TMZ reported that Seal was under criminal investigation for sexual battery, stemming from an alleged incident at his home in the fall of 2016 with actress Tracey Birdsall.

According to Birdsall, 54, Seal had allegedly forced himself on her in his kitchen — attempting to kiss her and later groping her breasts in advances she quickly pushed off and demanded he stop.

Though they were neighbors and developed a close friendship, Birdsall told TMZ there was never anything romantic between them and that his advances came out of nowhere. She claimed he belittled her outfit, insinuating the tank top and shorts she was wearing implied she was asking for it. After Seal allegedly groped her again, she said she left and has not had contact with him since.

Seal refuted Birdsall’s claims, with reps for the star telling PEOPLE in a statement he “vehemently denies the recent allegations made against him by a former neighbor for alleged misconduct more than a year ago.”

In the wake of Oprah Winfrey’s Golden Globes speech, Seal found himself in hot water when he posted a meme of Winfrey with disgraced Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein that read “When you have been part of the problem for decades, but suddenly they all think you are the solution.”

RELATED VIDEO: Chrissy Teigen Slams Seal over Meme Targeting Oprah Winfrey: ‘We’ve All Heard Things About Each Other’

Seal added in the caption, “Oh I forgot, that’s right….. you’d heard the but you had no idea he was actually serially assaulting young -eyed actresses who in turn had no idea what they were getting into. My bad. #SanctimoniousHollywood.”

While the post appeared to be an attack on Winfrey — causing many, including Chrissy Teigen, to knock him — Seal posted an impassioned video to Facebook days later explaining that wasn’t his intention.

“What I reposted was commentary on the hypocritical and double standard nature and behavior of Hollywood,” he said. “To those of us who support the #MeToo movement, just know this: not one of the women who have been sexually abused, not one of the women who have come forward, has received any real justice whatsoever. Losing your job because you either a) raped, 2) sexually abused, or even sexually harassed a woman is not real punishment. You steal from the post office, you go to jail. And #RealTalk, we all know what would happen to any one of those power abusers if they looked like me.”

It appears his words resonated with Birdsall, who told TMZ she was inspired to contact authorities after watching his video.

An inmate strikes back at sheriff whose policies facilitated her sexual assault

Law enforcement authorities’ indifference to conditions of imprisonment is too often deliberate. Even after learning that his policies were facilitating sexually abusive behavior by prison officials against underage prisoners, Sheriff Stanley Glanz, of Tulsa, Oklahoma, did nothing to change the status quo. Now, thanks to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, his successor—if they haven’t already—is going to have to put some reforms in place.

Eight years ago, Ladona Poore, then just 17 years old, was allegedly routinely sexually assaulted by a detention officer, Seth Bowers, while imprisoned in the Tulsa institution Glanz supervised.

Poore testified that during the early portion of her detention, Bowers began groping her. She stated that he entered her cell and engaged in this type of misconduct more than fifty times. The sexual abuse escalated during the course of her incarceration. Bowers watched Poore in the shower, asking if she was done and then laughing at her. He later exposed himself to Poore and demanded oral sex. Bowers engaged in oral sex with her on approximately ten occasions, and sexual intercourse approximately five times. Poore did not inform jail staff of the abuse because Bowers convinced her they would both face consequences if she reported him.

After her release, Poore sued Glanz for providing “inadequate housing, staffing, and supervision for the area of the facility where juvenile female inmates were housed.” The jury found for Poore, awarding her $25,000. (Unfortunately, Bowers faced neither civil nor criminal legal consequences, though he did resign.)

Glanz appealed the federal district court decision to the Tenth Circuit, which hears appeals from Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming. When an appeals court reviews a lower court’s decision, it views the facts in the “light most favorable” to the way that it came out below. On that basis, the appeals court determined:

Glanz knew the policies he implemented with respect to juvenile female inmates created an excessive risk of sexual assault and that he was deliberately indifferent to that risk. Although Glanz acknowledged that juvenile female inmates were at a heightened risk of sexual abuse, he chose to house them in an area of the jail that was visually isolated, unmonitored, and often staffed by only one male officer, and where a prior incident of misconduct had occurred. He did so despite written policies intended to prevent sexual abuse that required direct supervision of juvenile inmates and prohibited male officers from entering the cell of juvenile female inmates alone.

Gillibrand offers Trump ‘due process’ hearings on sexual assault allegations against him

Following the resignation of White House staff secretary Rob Porter over multiple accusations of domestic abuse, President Trump tweeted Saturday that he’s concerned people’s lives are being “shattered and destroyed” by “a mere allegation” without “due process.” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) responded by offering Trump his own “due process” in the form of hearings about the many sexual allegations against him, prompting a retort from White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway that those women “have had their day.”

Trump came to Porter’s defense Friday, wishing him “a wonderful career,” bemoaning that Porter is now “very sad,” and insisting that Porter has maintained his innocence. On Saturday, Trump tweeted his concern that “there is no recovery for someone falsely accused,” an apparent reference to Porter’s departure.

On Sunday morning, White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney clarified on Fox News Sunday that it’s not clear Trump’s tweet referred to Porter, and could have been a reference to Steve Wynn, the former Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC). Two weeks ago, Wynn resigned over accusations he assaulted and harassed dozens of women. The RNC has said it’s planning to keep the $200,000 Wynn donated to Republicans last year, insisting that he should be “allowed due process.” Despite the similar stories, Wynn has not really been in the news the last two weeks and wasn’t even mentioned on Fox & Friends Saturday morning — but Porter was.

Regardless of whom Trump was referring to, Gillibrand decided to offer him exactly what he was asking for: due process in the form of congressional hearings on the many sexual assault allegations against him.

Gillibrand has long been a champion in the fight against sexual harassment, even publicly reporting her own experiences being harassed by fellow lawmakers in 2014. She also led the charge in calling for fellow Democratic Sen. Al Franken (MN) to resign last fall. Trump, himself, has come after her, insinuating that she would be willing to perform sexual favors for campaign donations. She responded that he could not silence her.

On two different Sunday morning political shows, Conway came to the White House’s defense over its handling of the Rob Porter allegations. Though she said on CNN’s State of the Union that she thought Porter did the right thing by resigning, she attacked Gillibrand on ABC’s This Week. “Those accusers have had their day on your network and elsewhere,” Conway said to George Stephanopoulos in response to Gillibrand’s tweets. “They were trotted out again late last year.”

“I don’t need a lecture from Kirsten Gillibrand or anybody else who protected and defended and harbored a sitting president who had sexual relations in the Oval Office and was impeached for lying. I don’t need a lecture from her or anybody else.”

Conway is referring to President Clinton, who was impeached in 1999 and served in office until 2001. Gillibrand didn’t take office until 2007, so it’s unclear how exactly she could have been protecting Clinton at the time. It’s true that Gillibrand is close to the Clintons and that they have campaigned for her. She said last November that in hindsight, however, she believes Clinton should have resigned over his affair with Monica Lewinsky.

If anything, Conway’s retort shines light on the fact that the accusations against Clinton were actually investigated. Apparently she thinks that “due process” for Trump is simply the fact that his accusers have had airtime on television.


Rob Porter, John Kelly, and the White House’s pattern of downplaying assault

Two years ago, before President Trump was President Trump, before White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned in the wake of domestic abuse accusations, current White House Chief of Staff John Kelly appeared as a character witness in a court-martial of a Marine colonel who was accused of sexually harassing two woman subordinates.

At the court-martial, Kelly praised the colonel as a “superb Marine officer,” as The New York Times reported Thursday. It wouldn’t be the last time Kelly downplayed assault accusations.

Earlier this week, The Daily Mail reported on the record accusations by Porter’s two ex-wives, alleging Porter had physically and verbally abused them.

Porter’s second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, told the Mail that Porter had allegedly pulled her naked out of the shower after a fight about a year into their marriage. Willoughby also said Porter was verbally abusive. The Mail also published a 2010 police complaint detailing an incident in which Porter allegedly punched a glass door at their home. Willoughby filed a temporary protective order after the alleged incident.

On Wednesday, the Mail reported accusations by Porter’s first wife, Colbie Holderness. Holderness says Porter kicked her, chocked her, and punched her in the face on their honeymoon. Holderness provided photos of her injuries to media.

Both women also told CNN Wednesday that a third woman, a girlfriend of Porter’s, contacted them for advice about how to deal with Porter’s “repeated abuse.”

Kelly defended Porter after the first Mail report, echoing comments he made in 2016 at the court-martial.

“Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him,” Kelly said in a statement. “He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him.”

Porter resigned Wednesday, but he denies the allegations. When the news of Porter’s resignation broke, Axios reported that White House senior staff, including Kelly, encouraged Porter to “stay and fight” rather than resign.

But as CNN reported Thursday, it was widely known by early fall of last year among top aides — Kelly included — that Porter was facing trouble obtaining security clearance and that he had allegedly abused his ex-wives. There was no action to remove Porter from the White House staff, however.

The Washington Post reported late Thursday night that the White House counsel was told four times about the seriousness of the abuse allegations against Porter, but the counsel chose to ignore them because Porter was a “steadying, professional voice” in the White House.

On Friday morning, Willoughby told CNN that Porter himself asked her to downplay his alleged abuse.

“We were in contact, even a couple days ago, as he was asking me to release a statement about my blog post,” she said, referencing a post where she wrote about his alleged abuse and why she stayed with Porter. “I went back and forth with him for an hour or so about what language I would be comfortable with, and ultimately, the language he asked I wasn’t comfortable with. And he came out with that statement less than an hour later.”

Willoughby said Porter asked her to say she had taken some “liberties with that therapeutic post,” but, she said, “when I thought about it, I didn’t. The things that I said were factual statements.”

On Thursday, the Post also reported that Porter has been explaining the pictures of Holderness’ black eye, which she has distributed to the media, saying that “they were arguing over a vase, and she was somehow hit with the vase.”

As details continue to come out about how much White House officials knew about the accusations Porter’s ex-wives have made, there has been increasing pressure on Kelly to resign.

Toni Van Pelt, head of the feminist group National Organization for Women, put it bluntly.

“White House chief of staff John Kelly must resign,” Van Pelt said in a statement released earlier this week. “His pathetic defense of staff secretary Rob Porter reveals his true nature — an enabler of sexual abusers, a betrayer of trust and an avoider of responsibility.”

Kelly is, of course, working for another alleged sexual abuser. More than 15 women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct. Trump denies all the accusations and the White House’s official position is that all the women who have accused Trump of misconduct are lying.

At any rate, the president is reportedly unhappy with the way the White House has handled the Porter story. As CNN reported Thursday night, Turmp was reportedly upset with the fact that Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told the White House corps in Thursday’s briefing that the White House could have better handled the Porter “situation” — despite the fact Trump himself reportedly thought the situation should have been handled better.


Los Angeles prosecutors review three sex assault accusations against Weinstein

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Los Angeles prosecutors are reviewing three accusations of sexual assault against Harvey Weinstein, a step toward possible criminal charges for the movie producer, a spokesman for the county District Attorney’s office said on Thursday.

Gabrielle Union: PTSD from Being Raped Was 'Triggered' After Speaking with Sexual Assault Victims

Sharing her own story of sexual abuse was both healing and painful for Gabrielle Union.

The Being Mary Jane star previously spoke out in 2016 — amid controversy surrounding former assault accusations against The Birth of a Nation director, Nate Parker — about being raped at gunpoint while working at a Payless shoe store 25 years ago.

During her recent book tour for her best-selling memoir We’re Going to Need More Wine, the 45-year-old actress listened to countless stories from fans who shared their own sexual assault stories, which “triggered” PTSD from her own sexual assault more than two decades ago.

“On my book tour, a lot of cities felt like a revival — there were so many disclosures of abuse during the Q&A portion of talks and during the book signing; even as I was driving away people were flagging down my car in tears,” she says in her March Redbook cover interview, which hits newsstands Feb. 13. “I didn’t realize how big the need was for so many people to just get it out, to have someone look them in the eye and say, ‘I believe you.’ I cried a lot.”

Adds Union: “I Skyped a lot with my therapist, because the horrors that I was taking in triggered my PTSD.”

“But I feel a responsibility to offer that sense of safety and support,” she shares. “And luckily I have the means to help myself at the end of the night.”

In the fall of 2016, Union opened up about the “responsibility” she felt to tell her story of sexual assault so that other women feel comfortable and confident to stand up for themselves. “As a rape survivor and as an advocate, I cannot shy away from this responsibility because the conversation got difficult. I don’t want to put myself above anyone’s pain or triggers,” she said in Essence magazine’s November 2016 issue. “Every victim or survivor, I believe you. I support you.”

Despite the negative moments that have been a part of her past, Union, who is married to NBA star Dwyane Wade, is choosing to focus on the positives.

“I started working with a therapist who asked me to list things that make me happy, and one of my top three was imitation crab!” she said. “You’re not on the right track if you say imitation crab. So the therapist started to ask questions: ‘What don’t you like? What annoys you? Have you ever experienced euphoria?’ Examine those moments and you’ll start to figure out who you really are,” she shares.

To help eliminate the negative from her life, Union says she always nips gossiping in the bud.

“When someone starts gossiping, I’ll be like, ‘I can’t.’ It stops people cold. They’ll ask, ‘What? What can’t you do?’ Then I’m like, ‘Listen to this. Yeah, I can’t. It’s sooo negative.’ … You have to do it with a wink and a nod, but it shuts people down,” she explains. “When you let that into your space, whether or not you’re going to spread it or agree with it, your silence makes you complicit in negative energy, and that comes back.”