Archive - August 2019

De billboards wandelen tegenwoordig met je mee

De billboards wandelen tegenwoordig met je mee

De Amsterdamse Wallen zijn tegenwoordig een attractie. Tegelijk zijn er nog steeds veel mannen die hun bezoek aan de Rosse Buurt liever voor zichzelf houden. Zij slapen minder goed na de recente ophef over wifi-tracking. Tientallen Nederlandse gemeenten volgen bezoekers van drukke wijken en evenementen via hun telefoon. Via antennes detecteren ze wifi- en bluetooth-signalen die telefoons doorlopend uitzenden om te communiceren met andere apparatuur. Deze signalen bevatten ook unieke codes waarmee de telefoon, en mogelijk ook de eigenaar, geïdentificeerd kan worden.

Naast onder meer Apeldoorn, Groningen, Rotterdam en Leiden is Amsterdam een van de gemeenten die zo vastlegt hoeveel telefoons er op drukke plekken passeren. De gemeenten zelf zijn alleen geïnteresseerd in statistische informatie. Die kan helpen bij crowd control of het inroosteren van politie en schoonmakers.

Op de eigen website vertelt CityTraffic, een van de twee grote Nederlandse leveranciers, dat het ook kan vastleggen „hoeveel unieke bezoekers er in een winkelstraat zijn, hoe lang zij verblijven, hoe zij lopen en hoe vaak zij terugkomen.” Het zonder toestemming vastleggen of verkopen van dit soort informatie is verboden. Hoewel betrokken partijen er op hameren dat zij ‘anonimiseren’, is de controle beperkt. Tegelijk neemt de waarde van deze data voor bedrijven en hun marketeers sterk toe.

Mobiele telefoons en sensoren

Al in 2014 ontdekte techsite Tweakers dat Dixons, MyCom en iCentre het komen en gaan van winkelbezoekers in kaart brachten. Naast signalen van telefoons gebruikten zij ook camera’s om vragen te beantwoorden als: ‘Hoeveel klanten zijn er op verschillende uren van de dag in onze winkels? Hoe lopen ze door de winkel, en voor welke schappen blijven ze staan?’ De betrapte ketens bezwoeren dat er geen sprake van inbreuk op de privacy was, omdat de gegevens niet werden opgeslagen.

De technologie om de locatie van telefoons te volgen werd sindsdien veel geavanceerder en wordt op steeds meer openbare plekken geïnstalleerd. Zo installeerde Gatwick Airport vorig jaar 2000 bluetooth-antennes (‘beacons’) om de 43 miljoen jaarlijkse bezoekers zo snel mogelijk naar de gate te loodsen. Via deze antennes bepaalt de app de exacte locatie van de gebruiker en loods die via pijltjes op het telefoonscherm naar de gewenste locatie. Reizigers die gebruik maken van de app, ontvangen ook aanbiedingen van luchthavenwinkels.

Net als bij veel ‘gratis’ wifi-verbindingen staat hiervoor een toestemmingsclausule in de gebruiksvoorwaarden. Weinig gebruikers lezen die voor ze op ‘ja’ klikken. Dat geldt ook voor de talrijke apps. De kans dat gebruikers daarmee ook instemmen met het doorlopend delen van hun locatie is groot. Onderzoekers van de universiteiten van Calgary, Madrid en Berkeley troffen onlangs ook duizend apps aan die zonder toestemming locatiedata vastleggen. De apps koppelen die informatie vaak aan de namen, demografische gegevens en zo mogelijk ook het Facebook-profiel van de gebruiker.



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Apps die gebruikers netjes vragen hun locatiedata te delen, verbinden daar vaak ‘exclusieve’ aanbiedingen of service aan. Zo kan de Motorist-app van Shell gebruikers naar de dichtstbijzijnde pomp leiden. Eenmaal aangekomen stuurt de app een aanbieding voor een broodje. De McDonalds-app attendeert gebruikers op een softijsje als ze op een warme dag langs een van de vestigingen lopen. En gebruikers van de Rituals-app kunnen zomaar een uitnodiging voor een gratis adviessessie met een styliste ontvangen als ze in de buurt van de winkel zijn.

‘Hyper-relevant’ adverteren

Marketeers noemen dat ‘geo-targeted’ en ‘hyper-relevant’ adverteren. De kans dat consumenten op een commercieel aanbod reageren, groeit door het afstemmen op de locatie van de ontvanger al snel met honderden procenten. Volgens onderzoek door BIA Advisory Services spenderen marketeers dit jaar 26 miljard dollar aan reclamecampagnes, apps en andere marketinguitingen waarin rekening wordt gehouden met de locatie van de beoogde doelgroep.

Het grootste deel gaat op aan het selecteren van ontvangers voor advertenties. Wie googelt naar een product of dienst, ziet prominent de leveranciers in zijn omgeving. Elke keer dat zij bovenaan de zoekresultaten staan, betalen deze aanbieders Google een klein bedrag. Door zijn enorme schaal verdient Google daar miljarden mee. En naast ‘directe’ aanbiedingen gaat er volgens locatiemarketingspecialist Factual ook steeds meer marketingbudget naar het opbouwen van zogenaamde ‘audiences’.

Zo noemen marketeers doelgroepen die commercieel interessante kenmerken delen en daardoor openstaan voor specifieke reclame. De producent van een dure shampoo kan bijvoorbeeld gegevens inkopen van mensen die regelmatig dure kapsalons bezoeken. En zo’n kapsalon kan weer een aanbieding versturen aan bezoekers van nabijgelegen concurrenten.

Statusverhogende locatiepunten

Het bedrijf Foursquare begon in 2009 als sociaal netwerk waarop leden locaties toevoegen op een gemeenschappelijke kaart: bars, restaurants en winkels. Door daar ‘in te checken’ en reviews te schrijven, verzamelen ze statusverhogende punten. Zo verzamelde de app in Nederland honderdduizenden gebruikers. De wereldwijd ruim 50 miljoen leden zijn met name jonge mannen in hogere inkomenssegmenten.

Zowel de locatiebepalende technologie, de met locatiedata van leden gevulde database als het ‘Pinpoint’ geo-advertentieplatform van Foursquare zijn inmiddels veel geld waard. Om de nauwkeurigheid van zijn locatiebepaling en zijn database verder te vergroten, kocht Foursquare concurrent Placed voor naar verluidt ruim 135 miljoen dollar. Foursquare-directeur Jeff Glueck was met name geïnteresseerd in de technologie van Placed. „Het exact bepalen van iemands positie via zijn telefoon is extreem complex”, motiveerde Glueck de aankoop. „Met alleen gps kun je vaak niet bepalen waar bezoekers van een warenhuis precies blijven staan kijken. Daarom moet je ook het bluetooth- en wifi-signaal nauwkeurig kunnen volgen en kijken wat de sensoren doen. De accelerometer bijvoorbeeld, die de bewegingen die een telefoon maakt op centimeters nauwkeurig meet. Door Placed-technologie te integreren in ons locatieplatform doen we dat nu nog beter.”



Lees ook Met big data kun je in een oorlog de vijand verslaan

Naast locatiemarketing kan Foursquare zo ook ‘meten’ hoe effectief adverteren via verschillende kanalen is. Het netwerk ziet of consumenten die eerder advertenties zagen, daarna naar een vestiging van de adverteerder gaan. Grote bedrijven hebben veel geld over voor die kennis. Onder de ruim 450 ‘mediapartners’ die daar gebruik van maken, zijn Uber, Samsung, Apple, Tinder, Hilton, TripAdvisor en AccuWeather.

Dankzij Foursquares geotechnologie heeft deze populaire online weerdienst een op locatie gebaseerde adviesfunctie. Gebruikers die kijken of de zon blijft schijnen of het gaat regenen, zien ook relevante advertenties. Voor een nabijgelegen strandclub bijvoorbeeld, of een winkel die paraplu’s verkoopt. AccuWeather betaalt Foursquare voor het gebruik van de technologie. Een deel van die betaling bestaat uit de locatiedata van zijn gebruikers.

Dominante advertentieplatformen

Op deze manier bieden Foursquare en zijn mediapartners tegenwicht aan Facebook en Google. Die twee maken ook op het gebied van locatiemarketing de dienst uit. Google toont gebruikers betaalde advertentielinks op basis van hun locatie. Adverteerders kunnen opties aanvinken als ‘toon advertentie aan gebruiker die regelmatig locatie X bezoekt’. Daar bovenop komt nog Google Maps, de locatiedienst waarmee ruim één miljard gebruikers dagelijks de dichtstbijzijnde restaurants, winkels en andere bestemmingen zoeken. Elke zoekopdracht en bezochte locatie triggert locatiegebonden advertenties, en komt direct ook in het persoonlijk profiel van de gebruiker terecht. Zo weegt Google ook al onze locaties uit het verleden mee bij het berekenen van de meest relevante zoekresultaten. Onderzoekers van de Princeton-universiteit toonden aan dat Google de locatie van Android-telefoons doorlopend volgt, ook als gebruikers in hun privacyvoorwaarden aangeven daar niet van gediend te zijn.



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Ook Facebook volgt en vermarkt de locatie van zijn bijna 2,4 miljard leden nauwkeurig. Adverteerders maken daar onder meer gebruik van via het Local Awareness Ads-platform. Net als Google biedt Facebook leden in de privacy-instellingen een mogelijkheid om het volgen van hun locatie en tonen van gerelateerde advertenties uit te zetten. Volgens onderzoek dat in december is gepubliceerd door The Guardian is ook deze ‘opt-out’ een wassen neus, en gaat Facebook daarna gewoon door met het tonen van locatiegerichte advertenties.

In diezelfde maand lekte ook informatie uit over enkele nieuwe algoritmes waarop Facebook patent heeft aangevraagd. Deze algoritmes zoeken naar patronen in de grote hoeveelheid opgeslagen (locatie)data, om zo de toekomstige locatie van leden én hun vrienden te kunnen voorspellen. Volgens de toelichting bij de patentaanvraag kunnen de algoritmes onder meer worden gebruikt om locatiegericht te adverteren en ‘meer inzicht te verkrijgen in het gedrag van leden’. Zo toont Facebook zijn leden dus niet alleen advertenties op basis van hun huidige locatie, maar ook voor locaties waar ze straks mogelijk te vinden zijn.

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van 13 augustus 2019

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Three more women sue Epstein’s estate over alleged abuse

Three more women sue Epstein’s estate over alleged abuse

All of the women describe similar patterns of being brought to Epstein’s home to provide massages and then subjected to repeated, unwanted sex acts.

By REUTERS

August 20, 2019 16:31





1 minute read.

U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein (C) appears in court where he pleaded guilty to two prostitution char

U.S. financier Jeffrey Epstein (C) appears in court where he pleaded guilty to two prostitution charges in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. July 30, 2008. Picture taken July 30, 2008. .
(photo credit: UMA SANGHVI/PALM BEACH POST VIA REUTERS)

NEW YORK – Three more women on Tuesday sued the estate of Jeffrey Epstein, saying they were recruited to provide massages for the financier and then sexually abused.

The lawsuits, filed in Manhattan federal court, bring the total number of civil cases against Epstein’s estate since his apparent suicide in jail on Aug. 10 to at least five.

Two of the women say they met Epstein when they were 17, while a third said she met him when she was 20. All describe similar patterns of being

brought to Epstein’s home

to provide massages and then subjected to repeated, unwanted sex acts.

Lawyers for Epstein could not immediately be reached for comment.

Epstein was arrested on July 6 and pleaded not guilty to charges of sex trafficking involving dozens of underage girls as young as 14. He died on Aug. 10 in his jail cell at age 66, and an autopsy report released on Friday concluded he hanged himself.

Just two days before, Epstein had signed a will placing all of his property, worth more than $577 million, in a trust called The 1953 Trust after the year of his birth, according to a copy of the document seen by Reuters.

His death at the jail triggered multiple investigations and had prompted U.S. Attorney General William Barr to criticize “serious irregularities” at the facility, and to remove the acting chief of the federal Bureau of Prisons.

Epstein, a registered sex offender who once socialized with U.S. President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton, pleaded guilty in 2008 to Florida state charges of unlawfully paying a teenage girl for sex and was sentenced to 13 months in a county jail, a deal widely criticized as too lenient.



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Evangelicals Are Most Likely To Adopt. What Happens When Their Kids Are Gay?

Evangelicals Are Most Likely To Adopt. What Happens When Their Kids Are Gay?


Swikar Patel for BuzzFeed News

Keri Williams and her daughter Kayla at home in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Late one night a few years ago, my 14-year-old daughter, Kayla, texted me.

911 Kayla: i need to talk to u

She’d prefixed her contact name in my cellphone to read “911,” a way of asserting her significance in my life. Seeing it always made me smile. It was after midnight, but I dutifully responded.

Me: Can we talk tomorrow? You have school in the morning.

911 Kayla: stop using punctuation in texts its weird

Me: It’s not weird.

911 Kayla: ur such a mom

Text bubbles danced for long moments on my screen before her next message popped up:

911 Kayla: i don’t know how to tell u this but im gay

I blinked. My finger hovered uncertainly over my iPhone screen as I read and reread her text.

My husband and I had adopted Kayla and her brother, Devon, out of foster care over a decade earlier. When she first came to live with us, she was 2, with dimples, gobs of curly hair, and an offbeat sense of humor. Her freckle-faced brother Devon was 3. Kayla didn’t yet have a conscious awareness of her sexual identity and it didn’t occur to me she might be gay. I was far more concerned about her low self-esteem and difficulties with attachment as she adjusted into our family.

I was raised in the heady, evangelical Christian movement of the ’80s and ’90s. For many years, I unquestioningly accepted the belief that homosexuality was wrong and a behavioral choice, but during my thirties, I became disenchanted with the religion of my youth. I reconsidered the tenets of my faith and the shortfalls of organized religion and its anti-abortion, anti-gay, pro-gun political agenda.

During that time, my conservative ideology shifted, including my stance on LGBTQ issues. I worked from home and often chatted over IM with my coworker Brian about our kids. He had an adopted teenage son, a few years older than my kids, and was the most devoted and involved dad I knew. I imagined his family — his wife and son — to be happy and close just like my own family.

But Brian didn’t have a wife. I eventually discovered he had a partner named Chris. They’d been together for more years than most married couples I knew, defying the evangelical stereotype of gay men as unfit parents, incapable of monogamy. Despite the prejudice against same-sex couples, they were successfully raising a happy and healthy adopted son. Witnessing this reality, I was compelled to evaluate my beliefs about the LGBTQ community and my positions on issues like gay marriage and adoption.

After years of soul-searching, I left the evangelical church behind. I embraced a more progressive Christianity — one that would prepare me for the late-night texting with my daughter only a couple years later.


Swikar Patel for BuzzFeed News

Portrait of Kayla Williams and her dog Pocket in her Charlotte, North Carolina, home on July 28. Pocket can only walk for a little bit so Kayla often carries her most of the way.

That night, when Kayla nervously texted me, I wasn’t conflicted about her sexuality. The only reason my finger hovered over my iPhone screen was because I wasn’t sure how to formulate a response that would adequately assure her of my love and acceptance.

Afraid to let the seconds stretch into a message of their own, I responded:

Me: I will always love you. I’m fine with you being gay.

Kayla has since had two girlfriends and has come out to friends and family. As I’ve watched her blossom into her authentic self, I’m haunted by how things could have gone so differently for her if my religious convictions had not evolved.

Our situation is not unique. According to the Adoption Network, there are 135,000 children adopted each year, most from foster care, like Kayla was. And based on a 2014 UCLA School of Law study, more than 1 in 5 kids in the foster care system is LGBTQ.

Conservative Christians are the religious group most likely to adopt, but also the group most likely to oppose homosexuality. Many Christian adopters are licensed by faith-based agencies like the one I adopted through.

These agencies, which historically do not work with LGBTQ couples, are the cornerstone of the child welfare system in the US. For example, according to a 2017 story in the Arkansas Times, a single faith-based organization recruits over half the state’s foster homes. Faith-based agencies’ ubiquity has led to ongoing legal battles over whether faith-based agencies who refuse to work with same-sex couples should continue to receive government funding.

In the meantime, LGBTQ adoptees placed in anti-gay families by faith-based agencies face all sorts of difficulties — and significant long-term impacts to their health and well-being.


Swikar Patel for BuzzFeed News

Keri Williams (right) and her daughter Kayla Williams in their Charlotte home on July 28.

Every adoption, no matter how positive, starts with separation and loss. Some situations are more challenging than others. For example, children adopted out of foster care or orphanages may have been neglected, abused, or abandoned. According to a report by the Child Welfare Information Gateway, trauma like this, especially during the first five years of life when the brain is most vulnerable, can cause a child’s brain to not develop optimally.

“Children who are abused and neglected early in life can internalize loss and betrayal. They view the world as unsafe and unpredictable,” say Forrest Lien of Lifespan Trauma Consulting. “Adoption doesn’t erase these impacts. Even in the most nurturing and loving of homes, healing these deep hurts takes years as well as effective professional intervention.” Research shows children with early childhood trauma are at higher risk for substance abuse, incarceration, mental health issues, and chronic physical diseases compared to their peers.

Adoptees have a lot stacked against them even if they don’t have to wrestle with their sexual identity in a family that might be anti-gay. “A sense of rejection is already present for the adopted foster child. Being rejected for a fundamental part of ‘self’ cuts even deeper,” explained Kelly Crenshaw, a reverend based in Maryland who advocates for LGBTQ youth. “It’s another piece of baggage to carry through life that just makes things more complicated: Are people going to accept me? Will I be allowed to date? Do I have to hide my real self? What if my family doesn’t want me anymore?”

When we went through the process to adopt Kayla, a toddler at the time, our Christian agency didn’t ask how we would feel if we later discovered she was LGBTQ. Like Kayla, many children are adopted too young to be aware of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and it’s the furthest thing from the minds of their adoptive parents when they jump in heart-first.

That said, conservative Christians don’t necessarily shy away from adopting children who think they are gay. Many view homosexuality as a behavior they can help the child overcome — like overeating or lying. These adopters are confident that with proper parenting and religious instruction, they can keep their child from the “homosexual lifestyle.” This is the sincere, albeit ignorant, belief of most conservative Christians.

Unfortunately, even the most sincere convictions, by the most well-intentioned people, can be incredibly damaging.


Leah Hogsten / AP Images

Taryn Hiatt, Utah and Nevada chapter director with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, wipes away tears as members of the House Judiciary Committee opt to modify the conversion therapy bill in Salt Lake City on March 5, 2019.

Alex was adopted into a loving family and attended a Christian school from kindergarten through 12th grade. He appeared to have it all — a private school education, devoted parents, and the affluence to go on expensive vacations. Alex was also gay.

He first began to grapple with his sexual identity in third grade when his Christian school classmates mocked his seemingly effeminate behavior. Even though he knew he likely was gay, he sensed it was something to be ashamed of. He’d heard his mother make snarky comments like “Don’t act like such a girl.” And in school and church, the message was loud and clear: Christians can’t be gay.

Alex became convinced something was intrinsically wrong with him. He was uncomfortable at school, church, and home. “I didn’t want to be gay. For the longest time I suppressed who I was. I tried to ignore it,” he told me in an interview in June. “I would pray about it and beg God to change me.” He even tried masturbating while imagining girls, but nothing worked.

In high school, Alex’s teacher cornered him one day after their “Marriage and Family” class. She had spent the last few weeks teaching about “the life cycle of the homosexual man” and the unavoidable, tragic consequences faced by those who acted on same-sex attraction. She asked Alex if he was struggling with homosexual feelings and said it was common for adopted kids, especially if they had domineering mothers and passive fathers. While pressuring him to confess, the teacher assured Alex that he could be fixed.

Despite her persistence, Alex adamantly denied he was gay. After all, the “fix” for gayness would have included prayer, Bible study, being forced to embrace “correct” gendered behavior, and school discipline — including possible expulsion.

These are common approaches among many conservative Christian parents, churches, and other institutions. Focus on the Family, an evangelical organization that’s a leading authority in conservative Christian circles, says on its website, “Homosexual behavior is just one of the many sins God forgives and brings people out of.” Based on this ideology, some evangelical parents may enroll their LGBTQ kids in classes or programs designed to help those “confused about their sexuality” accept “God’s best” for their lives — heterosexuality.

Conversion therapy is another destructive practice, explored in recent films like Boy Erased and The Miseducation of Cameron Post. While the recently reintroduced “Every Child Deserves a Family Act” includes protections to safeguard adopted children from conversion therapy, it continues to be a frightening option in most states.

According to the Trevor Project, the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ young people, these damaging practices are startlingly common. “In some cases, adoptive parents who are not supportive of their LGBTQ children may attempt to change their sexual orientation or gender identity,” says Amy E. Green, director of research for the Trevor Project. “In fact, 2 in 3 LGBTQ youth reported that someone tried to convince them to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, which resulted in almost triple the rate of youth attempting suicide in the past year.”

Alex kept his secret throughout high school and only began to understand being gay wasn’t dirty or wrong when he was exposed to a wider swath of people and ideas during college. He began to live openly with his friends, but still kept the secret from his parents. He says, “I was nervous if they found out, they’d cut me off and I’d be on my own. I avoided spending a lot of time with them because I had to act differently around them. I was always afraid of slipping up.”

Now 23 years old, Alex has earned a college degree and recently started a new job. He asked that I not use his real name for this story because he still hasn’t come out to his adoptive parents. He’s uncertain what their response will be, but says he won’t breathe easy until he knows he’s able to independently support himself.


Swikar Patel for BuzzFeed News

Family photos line the walls of the Williamses’ home in Charlotte.

According to a 2015 Pew Research survey, only 30% of the members of the largest Protestant denomination, the Southern Baptists, believe homosexuality should be accepted in society. This statistic might drop even lower if the respondents were asked if they believe homosexuality should be accepted in their own family.

“When LGBTQ young people see their sexual orientation or gender identity up for public debate using harmful rhetoric, they can feel that their lives are worth less than their straight or cisgender peers,” says Green. The statistics bear this out with disproportionately higher suicide rates and soaring homelessness among LGBTQ youth.

“Until they really get to know LGBTQ people — including LGBTQ Christians — and hear our stories, some Christians have mistaken beliefs about us and our lives,” says Justin Lee, LGBTQ Christian activist and author of 2012’s Torn: Rescuing The Gospel From the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate. “In many cases, they think they’re showing ‘tough love’ and actually helping us with their hurtful language. But because they’ve never walked in our shoes, they don’t realize how their words push people away from their own families and even from their faith.”

Over the last handful of years, many conservative Christian churches and institutions have recognized how alienating their anti-gay agenda can be and have consequently changed their language around the issue. Some nonaffirming church denominations, including International Pentecostal Holiness, Southern Baptist Convention, and Assemblies of God, offer programs for those struggling with “unwanted” same-sex attraction, but are unwilling to accept for membership those who are out and plan to remain so.

Others, like the popular megachurch Hillsong, “welcome” members of the LGBTQ community, while not actually affirming them. LGBTQ people are encouraged to attend, but they cannot occupy roles of leadership in the church. And while Hillsong does not list its belief that homosexuality is sinful clearly on its website, it is documented in its statement of faith. While the language used by some of these churches has changed, their fundamental beliefs have not.

These same churches are active in the adoption movement. Crenshaw said, “I believe that many people honestly desire to help neglected and abused children. And many of those who want to help come from faith communities that promote reaching out into their communities. Unfortunately, many of these faith communities turn out to be among the more conservative of our Christian brothers and sisters.”


Swikar Patel for BuzzFeed News

Keri Williams in her home in Charlotte.

Like many Christians, I became a foster parent and later adopted based on an appeal from the pulpit. The pastor of our Florida megachurch called on the congregation of more than 20,000 to single-handedly end the “orphan crisis” in our county by becoming foster parents or adopting.

The adoption mandate for Christians is rooted in James 1:27, which says pure religion is caring for orphans in distress. Many Christians view adoption as a way to walk out their faith. In addition, adoption is considered a way to offer a religious upbringing to adoptees.

Christians began to champion adoption in the early 2000s by forming adoption ministries and throwing their support behind faith-based agencies, including the agency I used. Over time, they’ve come to monopolize the adoption market, given their access to highly motivated and passionate recruits. This led to a boom in expensive and ethically dubious international adoptions, which tapered off over the last decade due to new international restrictions. However, Christians remain passionate about adopting, particularly adopting children domestically out of foster care.

Churches and faith-based organizations provide valuable support — often not found elsewhere — to adoptive families, including childcare and financial services, support, community groups, and advocacy. Each year, thousands of well-meaning Christians invest their money, time, energy, and other resources into adoption.

However, their compassion is lost in translation when it comes to LGBTQ young people. “They often don’t realize how much pain they’re inflicting on LGBTQ people by refusing to accept them, but they are. It’s incredibly damaging,” says Lee.

Comedian Joel Kim Booster was born in South Korea and adopted as an infant by a conservative Christian couple from the Midwest. When Booster realized he was gay as a young child, he knew his parents would not be accepting. “I had no idea what their response would be,” he says, “but when you’re 16, you sort of assume the worst. That was the narrative at the time around conservative parents: They find out, they kick you out, and you’re fucked, or they send you to conversion therapy and you’re fucked in a whole different set of ways. I was worried about both of those outcomes.” Once they found out, Booster knew the relationship was too toxic to remain living at home, so he left.

Far too often, adopted LGBTQ children, like Booster, become the collateral damage of the anti-gay convictions of their well-meaning Christian parents. “I have worked with so many kids and teens who don’t fit in with the parents who raise them,” says Crenshaw. “They did their best to fit in, but like a square peg in a round hole, it never quite worked out.”


Jason Kempin / Getty Images

Comedian Joel Kim Booster performs onstage during the TBS Comedy Festival in 2017.

It’s difficult to come up with an easy solution for adopted LGBTQ kids in nonaffirming, conservative Christian families. Booster recognizes this problem and says of his own adoptive parents, “Them handling things differently would’ve meant them drastically altering their worldview, and that’s a big ask of someone.”

Now that children are coming out as LGBTQ at younger and younger ages, many are actively exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity when they are adopted. If we had known Kayla identified as LGBTQ when we first adopted her, what might we have done with that information? Using an ideological standard to approve adoptive parents is a slippery slope, akin to what faith-based agencies have done by excluding same-sex couples from adopting. Furthermore, there are ethical and practical concerns with collecting information about the sexual orientation of kids who are being adopted.

The Family Acceptance Project (FAP) of San Francisco State University is working to change the discourse around LGBTQ acceptance from “right and wrong” to “health and wellness.” Its evidence-based research has shown this can protect the well-being of LGBTQ youth even in families where the parents believe homosexuality is wrong.

“We have found that families can learn to support their LGBTQ children when information is presented in ways that resonate with their values and beliefs — to protect their children and to help them have a good life, to strengthen and keep their families together. In essence, what we have done is to give families a different way of thinking about their LGBTQ children by shifting the discourse on homosexuality from morality to health and well-being,” wrote FAP’s director, Caitlin Ryan, in a 2014 report.

Lee grew up in a Southern Baptist family and remains a devout Christian. He educates conservative Christian parents about the needs of their LGBTQ children and is hopeful there is a way forward for these families. He says, “Parents and children may not always agree on morals and theology, but they can still have a healthy relationship if they have healthy, open lines of communication.”

With hundreds of thousands of children waiting in foster care to be adopted, and thousands of conservative Christian families stepping up to help, these are the types of approaches needed to ensure LGBTQ adoptees grow up in healthy and nurturing homes.

I’m glad Kayla felt safe to come out to me, even if it was through a late-night text message. Now 16, she says, “First I told some of my friends and then my brother. I wanted to tell you because I felt uncomfortable whenever you talked about me dating boys. It was hard because it’s a big thing and I didn’t know what you would say.”

Kayla told me she’s relieved she doesn’t have to hide being gay from me because she’s seen how it affects her LGBTQ friends. “It stressed me and my ex-girlfriend out because her parents don’t know she is gay. She feels like she can’t tell them until she is able to move out.”

Coming out can be a scary moment for any young person, but even more so for adopted kids. By coming out, they risk losing their tenuous, budding relationships with new family members. They may be risking everything.

Alex says he’s felt emotionally disconnected from his parents for a long time. “Our relationship could have been different if I didn’t have to hide who I was. No kid deserves to live in a family where they aren’t accepted and loved for who they are.” ●


Keri Williams lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with her family. She’s a mental health and adoption advocate. She blogs at www.raisingdevon.com and you can find her on social media @RaisingDevon.

 

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Man fights for life after plunging from balcony during sex session

Man fights for life after plunging from balcony during sex session

British man, 30, and his Canadian partner fall 12ft from French Riviera balcony while having ‘passionate and public’ sex in broad daylight – leaving him fighting for his life

  • Man, 30, was taken to hospital after fall in resort of Le Cannet, north of Cannes
  • Accident is said to have happened at around 12.30pm on Saturday at French villa
  • Canadian woman was ‘hurt but stable’ and is thought fall was cushioned by lover
  • Do you know the people involved? Email tips@dailymail.co.uk 

By Peter Allen In Paris for MailOnline

Published: 17:13 BST, 18 August 2019 | Updated: 03:43 BST, 19 August 2019

A British holidaymaker was in a critical condition in a French hospital last night after falling from a balcony during a ‘passionate sex session’ in full view of the public.

The 30-year-old and his partner plunged 12ft from the first floor of their holiday rental in the Riviera resort of Le Cannet, north of Cannes, after toppling over railings.

The man was rushed to an intensive care unit at the Pasteur Hospital in Nice, while his partner, who is 28 and Canadian, was ‘hurt but stable’.

It is thought she may have been cushioned by her lover in the fall. 

A British man is in intensive care after falling 12 foot from a balcony during a ‘passionate sex session’. Pictured is the street where the accident happened in Le Cannet, north of Cannes

An investigator said last night: ‘The couple were seen making love on the balcony of their holiday rental flat. 

‘They were becoming very passionate indeed, and suddenly toppled into the street below. Neighbours called the emergency services immediately.’

Police have opened an investigation to establish whether alcohol or drugs may have been involved in the accident on Saturday at 12.30pm.

There was no indication that anybody else might have been involved, said the source. Reports of British tourists dying or being injured from balcony falls have become a depressingly familiar part of the summer holiday season.

The problem is usually in Spanish Costa resorts frequented by groups of young men and women who drink vast quantities of alcohol. 

The latest case in France is an unusual example of this kind of accident – not only because of the activity the tourists were engaged in but also because it is in a more upmarket villa.

Police have opened an investigation and the Canadian woman is said to be ‘hurt but stable.’ Pictured is the town of Cannet where the couple had been staying in a holiday villa

Earlier this summer it emerged that hotel bosses have been advised by holiday operators not to assign travellers from the UK rooms which have a balcony barrier lower than 3.6ft. 

The orders came after three Britons plunged to their deaths from the same building in tourist hotspot Magaluf last year. 

Francisco Gene, director of the Menorca Binibeca Hotel, said: ‘TUI and Jet2 rules mean no British guests can stay in rooms with balconies that don’t meet new height requirements.

‘In places like Magaluf in Majorca there have been a lot of accidents, usually after guests have been drinking and climb over to friends’ rooms.

‘It happens every month in peak season. Now if guests insist on a room they shouldn’t have we make them sign a disclaimer about the balcony.’   

 

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Prince Andrew ‘appalled’ by Epstein’s sex abuse claims

Prince Andrew ‘appalled’ by Epstein’s sex abuse claims

Prince Andrew, left, and Jeffrey Epstein in New York's Central Park

Image copyright
News Syndication

Image caption

Prince Andrew, left, has previously been criticised for his association with Jeffrey Epstein

Prince Andrew has said he is “appalled” by sex abuse claims surrounding his former friend Jeffrey Epstein.

It comes after the Daily Mail obtained video footage which claimed to show the Duke of York inside the well-connected financier’s Manhattan mansion in 2010.

Epstein, 66, took his own life in a jail cell while awaiting federal trial for sex trafficking.

He socialised with Prince Andrew, President Donald Trump and former President Bill Clinton in the past.

A Buckingham Palace statement said: “The Duke of York has been appalled by the recent reports of Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged crimes.

“His Royal Highness deplores the exploitation of any human being and the suggestion he would condone, participate in or encourage any such behaviour is abhorrent.”

Epstein pleaded not guilty to sex trafficking and conspiracy charges last month and was being held without bail.

He was accused of paying girls under the age of 18 to perform sex acts at his Manhattan and Florida mansions between 2002 and 2005.

Epstein avoided similar charges in a controversial secret plea deal in 2008, and instead pleaded guilty to a lesser charge.

The duke was photographed with Epstein in New York’s Central Park in 2010 and his former friendship with Mr Epstein, who was sentenced to 18 months in prison in 2008 for soliciting a minor for prostitution, attracted criticism at the time.

He quit his role as a UK trade envoy in 2011.

Buckingham Palace has previously denied claims that Prince Andrew groped a woman in Epstein’s US home.

The accusation was made in documents from a 2015 defamation case.

Contained in the defamation case papers is an allegation by a woman called Johanna Sjoberg that Prince Andrew touched her breast while they sat on a couch in Epstein’s Manhattan apartment in 2001.

According to court filings, another of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Roberts, claimed she was forced to have sex with the prince on three occasions – in London, New York and on a private Caribbean island owned by Epstein – between 1999 and 2002, when she was under-age according to US law.

But Buckingham Palace has branded the allegations “false and without any foundation”, stating: “Any suggestion of impropriety with under-age minors” by the duke was “categorically untrue”.

 

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Techreuzen bestormen ontwikkelingslanden met uitgeklede apps

Techreuzen bestormen ontwikkelingslanden met uitgeklede apps

Facebook, YouTube en Twitter: het zijn apps die bijna iedereen op zijn telefoon heeft staan. Maar in India, Indonesië of de Filipijnen is dat anders. Met zogeheten lite apps willen de techbedrijven ook daar zoveel mogelijk gebruikers verleiden. Want échte groei moet van de opkomende economieën komen, zeggen analisten. 

Met versimpelde versies van hun apps willen bedrijven zoals Google en Facebook miljoenen gebruikers lokken die anders onbereikbaar zouden blijven. Deze uitgeklede apps nemen minder ruimte in beslag, gebruiken minder data en kunnen minder dan de volwaardige apps. 

“Het is een oplossing voor plekken waar mensen wonen met minder toegang tot goede mobiele netwerken, waar het datagebruik duurder is of minder geavanceerde smartphones worden gebruikt”, zegt analist Martin Garner van CCS Insight. 

Maar ook voor techbedrijven zijn lite apps een oplossing. Zij lopen tegen het punt van verzadiging aan: meer gebruikers in Europa of de VS zijn er haast niet. “De opkomende markten zijn een belangrijke bron van groei”, zegt Garner. 

Want hoe meer gebruikers, hoe meer advertenties. Een levensader voor bedrijven als Facebook en Google. 

Facebook als trendsetter

Facebook was een van de eerste bedrijven met zo’n app. Maar ook Google heeft een lite-variant van YouTube en ook Twitter heeft een uitgeklede variant. En streamingdienst Spotify kwam deze maand met zo’n app. Terwijl ook dating-app Tinder er momenteel aan werkt.

“Voor de lite apps zijn de kwalitatieve delen van de dienst eruit gehaald die juist het meeste data gebruiken. Of bijvoorbeeld de functies die heel veeleisend zijn voor de telefoon”, zegt Garner. 

De Chinese techreus Tencent lanceerde op dezelfde manier een lichtere versie van zijn populaire game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds in India en Indonesië. Geen gek idee als je bedenkt dat het spel alleen al in juli 167 miljoen dollar opleverde.

‘Minder zwaar voor telefoon’

Facebook Lite laat bijvoorbeeld foto’s in een lagere resolutie zien. En YouTube Go-gebruikers kunnen ervoor kiezen om video’s standaard te streamen met een lagere beeldkwaliteit. 

Dat is een uitkomst voor bijvoorbeeld mensen met een databundel van 1 gigabyte. Want zij laten het wel uit hun hoofd om apps te openen die in no-time die bundel er doorheen jagen, bijvoorbeeld met reclamevideo’s of andere dataslurpende functies die hen niet direct iets opleveren. 

“Daarom hebben lite apps ook minder achtergrondactiviteit, als de app niet wordt gebruikt”, zegt Garner. En dat scheelt ook aanzienlijk in het belasten van de smartphone en het datagebruik.

Meer advertenties

Het uiteindelijke doel van de techreuzen laat zich raden. Meer mensen aan hun smartphone gekluisterd krijgen. “En meer geld verdienen door advertenties voor te schotelen”, zegt Garner. 

Laten we Facebook erbij pakken. Dat bedrijf boekt nu nog het gros van zijn omzet in Noord-Amerika en Europa. Een Facebook-gebruiker in de VS en Canada levert nu zo’n 30 dollar per kwartaal op, terwijl dat in Europa op 9,60 dollar uitkomt. In Azië en de rest van de wereld is dat 2,8 dollar en 1,9 dollar per kwartaal.

Potentie van Azië en Afrika

Bijna driekwart van de 2,3 miljard maandelijkse gebruikers komt niet uit Noord-Amerika of Europa (1,75 miljard). En het zijn vooral deze gebieden buiten de westerse markt waar de groei zit. Het laat zien dat er in potentie nog veel meer geld valt te verdienen in continenten zoals Azië, Afrika en andere gebieden. 

“De techbedrijven zetten de lite apps veelal in in gebieden waar het inkomen per hoofd van de bevolking nu nog veel lager is. Maar voor bedrijven als Facebook en Uber geldt: eerst gebruikers krijgen en later geld verdienen”, zegt Garner.

Het succes van de lite apps is duidelijk te zien aan het aantal downloads. In India is Facebook Lite meer dan 650 miljoen keer gedownload, schrijft CNBC. Daarmee is het de meest populaire lite app van dit moment.

‘Profiteren van vroeg toetreden’

Het is logisch dat de techreuzen zich storten op opkomende economieën zoals Indonesië, Brazilië en Afrikaanse landen, zegt Bart Bronnenberg, hoogleraar marketing aan de Tilburg University. 

“Ik kan me voorstellen dat ze ervan uitgaan dat ze kunnen profiteren van toetredingseffecten”, blikt hij vooruit op toekomstige voordelen. 

“De omzet per gebruiker is nu misschien nog laag, omdat het besteedbaar inkomen per capita ook laag is. Maar met een bepaalde groeivoet hoeft dat niet zo te blijven. Dat kan een motivatie zijn om vroeg in een markt te springen.”

Daar komt bij dat al die potentiële klanten bij elkaar wel heel interessant kunnen zijn, zegt analist Garner. “Ook mensen met een veel lager inkomen moeten boodschappen doen. Als je hen kunt bereiken met advertenties, is dat goed zakendoen.”

Voet aan de grond

Het is dus een kwestie van voet aan de grond krijgen, nu andere spelers daar nog niet groot zijn. 

“Je wil eerst zorgen dat die mensen je app gebruiken. Daarna kun je geld aan die gebruikers verdienen”, zegt hoogleraar Bronnenberg. “Voor de gebruikers daar geldt: als je eenmaal klant bent, blijf je dat een tijdje. Anders gezegd: als je vrienden er zitten, is het gek als je eruit gaat.”

En als de digitale-infrastructuur er beter wordt, komt het vliegwiel echt op gang. De lite apps kunnen in dat geval werken als een soort instapmodel voor de gebruikers, legt Garner uit. Daar kun je nu misschien nog niet evenveel geld mee verdienen, maar later dus wel. 

“Als je weinig data kunt gebruiken, wil je dat als gebruiker niet verspillen aan reclamevideo’s. Dat is een interessant dilemma. Maar op lange termijn, gaan mensen de volwaardige apps misschien wel gebruiken, met alle advertentiemogelijkheden van dien.”

 

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Duke and Duchess of Sussex take SECOND private plane in two days

Duke and Duchess of Sussex take SECOND private plane in two days

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have flown on a second private jet in two days despite previously campaigning to protect the environment.

The Royals used the £15million plane ‘on a trip to Nice in the South of France‘ just 48 hours after they used one for a secret six-day trip to Ibiza.

Harry and Meghan took a 12-seat Cessna Citation Sovereign to the French Riviera and arrived on August 14, in a trip that would have created seven times more emissions per person than a commercial flight.

 The eco-campaigning royal couple were criticised for their choice of private jet due to their regular comments about the need to protect the environment

Their choice of private jet – which would have cost more than £20,000 to hire – has attracted criticism given their regular comments about the need to protect the environment.

The 38-year-old Duchess was spotted holding Archie and wearing a white hat with a black ribbon and white blouse, while Prince Harry opted for a navy baseball cap, sunglasses and a green polo.

The couple were seen getting off the plane – owned by NetJets Aviation – in Nice and greeted by their security detail and airport staff, the Sun reports.

Their flight was estimated to have had a carbon footprint of three tonnes, when the average for the country is just 13 tonnes a year.

Harry and Meghan took a 12-seat Cessna Citation Sovereign (similar pictured in this file photo) to the French Riviera and arrived on August 14, in a trip that would have created seven times more emissions per person than a commercial flight and cost more than £20,000 to hire

The trip marked the second holiday for Harry, 34, and Meghan this month, after they used the same aircraft company – dubbed ‘Uber for billionaires’ – on a visit to Ibiza.

They flew to Ibiza on August 6 where they stayed in a luxury private villa before returning to the UK on Monday.

The flight had a carbon footprint of more than four tonnes. 

Flight logs uncovered by MailOnline revealed how the Duke, Duchess and Archie secretly travelled to and from the Spanish island for their getaway.

The incident heaped more criticism on Harry after he used a private plane to get to Sicily for a Google climate meeting, despite preaching about global warming.

In their latest trip, the Royals drove from their home in Windsor to Farnborough Airport in Hampshire before catching the flight.

In their latest trip, the Royals drove from their home in Windsor to Farnborough Airport in Hampshire before catching the flight to Nice

The Prince kept his head down as he got off the plane. The couple were also joined by an unnamed female aide who wore black and had her hair braided.

They all crossed the airport tarmac and got into a blacked-out Mercedes transporter, which was parked near a police van, and taken to a private villa near the Mediterranean.

It is not clear where the Royals are now as the private aircraft landed back in Farnborough at around 4.15pm on Friday.

More than 20 planes leave London airports for Nice most Wednesdays, with an easyJet return ticket costing around £230 per person.

Teresa Pearce, Labour MP for Erith and Thamesmead, said the Duke and Duchess should ‘lead by example’.

She said: ‘Given the position they have taken publicly about being responsible on climate change, this does seem an anomaly which they should look at.’ 

She added: ‘I find this quite surprising because it doesn’t fit with their public image and the way they’re so concerned about the planet and the environment.’

And Ken Wharfe, a former royal protection officer, said: ‘Frankly it’s hypocritical. Harry can’t be preaching about the catastrophic effects of climate change while jetting around the world on a private plane.’

The Royal family have not commented on the latest trip. 

On August 6, the first day of their holiday to Ibiza, the only private plane travelling to Ibiza from the VIP Farnborough Airport was a Gulfstream 200, which can hold up to 19 people, which left at 7.49am BST and touched down on the Balearic island at 10.49am local time.

Six days later, on Monday this week, a nine-seater Cessna 500 XL, owned by NetJets, left Ibiza at 10.14am local time and landed at Farnborough at 11.20am BST and is understood to have been carrying the royals.

At least one leg of the journey is understood to have been booked through NetJets, which has earned the nicknames ‘Hertz For Heirs’ or ‘Uber for billionaires’ because it serves the wealthy.

 The plane used by the couple to get to Ibiza was believed to be a Cessna Citation XL, similar to the one pictured in this file photo 

The 860-mile private jet journey from Farnborough to Ibiza would have emitted six times more carbon than a commercial flight

It is not known who paid for the flights, which would have cost around £20,000 return.

But NetJets are linked to Harry’s close friend Nacho Figueras, an Argentine sportsman known as the ‘David Beckham of polo’.

It is also possible they may have borrowed a private jet from a friend whose plane is managed by a hire company.

NetJets has 750 planes for hire worldwide and boasts of offering an ‘unmatched experience’ to rich clients.

Perks include custom dining menus and the option to take pets in the cabin – with the company having previously transported dogs, cats and even a pig.  

Once on the Spanish island, the couple stayed in a luxury villa guarded by British and Spanish state security personnel.

There was also anger at the lack of transparency surrounding the trip, with royal representatives refusing to disclose how much it cost taxpayers.

Meghan has fond memories of the island having visited with friends before meeting the Prince

In September’s edition of Vogue, guest edited by Meghan, Harry said the couple would only have two children for the sake of the environment

It is believed the royal couple and Archie stayed in a secluded villa away from prying eyes, and travelled with security personnel for the ‘six-day trip’.

A source on the island told MailOnline the Royals landed in Ibiza on Tuesday last week with several taxpayer-funded Met Police bodyguards.

They added that five close protection officers from the Spanish security forces joined the group escorting them to their private villa.

An aerial view of Ibiza. It is understood Harry and Meghan were there from August 6 to Monday and that the Sovereign Grant – which comes from public money will have paid. But the palace has refused to say what happened or confirm any details

The couple’s decision to use a private jet for their Ibiza trip means the journey would have emitted six times more carbon dioxide per person than a scheduled flight from London to the Spanish island. 

The flights there and back would have given out 12.5 tons of carbon dioxide.

There are around 14 scheduled flights from London and the South-East of England to Ibiza each day.

Their choice of transport flied in the face of their frequent public pronouncements on green issues.

Other Royals have used cheap airlines for their flights alongside the public.

Prince Harry boarded a Wizz Air flight from Luton to Transylvania in 2012 and in 2015 Prince William, 37, used a Ryanair plane to get to Scotland.

In 2011 he was also joined by wife Kate, also 37, on a Flybe flight to Zara and Mike Tindall’s wedding.

Prince Harry boarded a Wizz Air flight (stock pictured) from Luton to Transylvania in 2012 and in 2010 Prince William, 37, used a Ryanair plane to get to Scotland

In 2015, Prince William, 37, used a Ryanair plane (stock pictured) to get to Scotland. In 2011 he was also joined by wife Kate, also 37, on a Flybe flight to Zara and Mike Tindall’s wedding

Last month British Vogue magazine – guest-edited by the Duchess – published an interview by Harry with leading conservationist Dr Jane Goodall.

In it the prince suggested he and Meghan may only have two children because of their environmental concerns.

In contrast to the duke and duchess, climate change activist Greta Thunberg boarded a boat from England to New York because she refuses to travel by plane. 

The 16-year-old was one of the 15 ‘forces for change’ Meghan chose to put on the cover of Vogue.

 

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Some jail staffers not cooperating with DOJ investigation into Epstein suicide, source says

Some jail staffers not cooperating with DOJ investigation into Epstein suicide, source says

Personnel at the New York City prison where accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide last week have not been initially cooperative with investigators from the Department of Justice, a federal source told Fox News Friday.

Attorney General William Barr sent two senior DOJ officials to personally visit the Metropolitan Correctional Center and speak with staff from the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) in order to gather information on Epstein’s death after Barr said officials uncovered “serious irregularities” at the jail, a senior DOJ official told Fox News. The officials have been on site since Thursday and the FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general are investigating conditions at the MCC.

NEW YORK MEDICAL EXAMINER: JEFFREY EPSTEIN’S DEATH WAS A SUICIDE BY HANGING

BOP officials from various regional offices have also been sent to the Manhattan facility to lend their expertise and insight. In addition, a separate BOP “After Action Team” went to MCC earlier this week in an effort to examine what happened the night Epstein died. The use of the “After Action Team” is part of BOP protocol whenever a “significant event takes place at a prison.

Epstein was found dead in his cell on Aug. 10. Earlier Friday, New York City’s medical examiner officially ruled the 66-year-old’s death a suicide by hanging.

Fox News has also learned that 20 of 21 prison staff posts were filled between the hours of 4 p.m. and 12 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 9, the day before Epstein was found. Of those prison workers, six of them were working voluntary overtime. Between 12 a.m. and 8 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10, 18 of 19 staff posts were filled. Of those 18 staffers, 10 were working overtime and all but one of those were doing so voluntarily.

Conspiracy theories swirled following Epstein’s death, as many wondered how the wealthy financier could have been able to kill himself in a high-security facility just over two weeks after being placed on suicide watch, though officials later confirmed Epstein had been taken off suicide watch shortly before his death.

Correctional officers did not check in with Epstein for “several hours” before his death, despite being required to visit him every 30 minutes, a person familiar with the situation told Fox News earlier this week.

Jail guards on duty the night of Epstein’s death are also suspected of falsifying log entries to show they were checking on inmates every half-hour as required, The Associated Press reported, citing several people familiar with the matter.

Two staffers have been placed on administrative leave and the MCC’s warden has been reassigned pending an investigation.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Late Friday, Epstein’s attorneys issued a statement decrying what they described as “the harsh, even medieval conditions at the MCC.”

“It is indisputable that the authorities violated their own protocols,”  Martin Weinberg, Reid Weingarten and Michael Miller said. “The defense team fully intends to conduct its own independent and complete investigation into the circumstances and cause of Mr. Epstein’s death including if necessary legal action to view the pivotal videos – if they exist as they should – of the area proximate to Mr. Epstein’s cell during the time period leading to his death.

“We are not satisfied with the conclusions of the medical examiner,” the statement concluded. ” We will have a more complete response in the coming days

Fox News’ Samuel Chamberlain, Jake Gibson and Nicole Darrah contributed to this report. 

 

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Medical examiner rules Epstein death a suicide by hanging

Medical examiner rules Epstein death a suicide by hanging

NEW YORK (AP) — New York City’s medical examiner ruled Jeffrey Epstein’s death a suicide Friday, confirming after nearly a week of speculation that the financier faced with sex trafficking charges hanged himself in his jail cell.

Epstein, 66, was found dead at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Aug. 10, touching off outrage that such a high-profile prisoner could have gone unwatched at the Manhattan federal lockup where infamous inmates Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and Wall Street swindler Bernard Madoff came and went without incident.

Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said in a statement that she made the suicide determination “after careful review of all investigative information, including complete autopsy findings.”

Sampson’s announcement came as a Justice Department official told The Associated Press that some prison staffers believed to have relevant information aren’t cooperating with investigators.

Epstein’s lawyers said they were “not satisfied” with Sampson’s conclusions and that they would conduct their own investigation, including seeking to obtain any video of the area around Epstein’s cell from the time leading to his death.

Epstein, arrested July 6 and jailed since, was found dead with a bedsheet around his neck less than 24 hours after more than 2,000 pages of documents were made public from a since-settled lawsuit against an ex-girlfriend alleged to be his aide-de-camp. The documents included graphic allegations against Epstein and a 2016 deposition in which he refused to answer questions to avoid incriminating himself.

At the time of Epstein’s death, the Bureau of Prisons said he had apparently killed himself. But that did not squelch conspiracy theories , including one retweeted by President Donald Trump that speculated Epstein was murdered.

What emerged in the days that followed, however, was not evidence of a sinister plot, but early signs that prison staff failed to properly secure and monitor a prisoner, leading to ferocious criticism by everyone from Attorney General William Barr to Epstein’s lawyers.

Jail guards on Epstein’s unit failed to check on him every half hour, as required, and are suspected of falsifying log entries to show they had, according to several people familiar with the matter. Both were working overtime because of staffing shortages, the people said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they lacked authorization to publicly discuss the investigation.

Epstein, who was charged with sexually abusing numerous underage girls over several years, had been placed on suicide watch last month after he was found on his cell floor July 23 with bruises on his neck.

Multiple people familiar with operations at the jail say Epstein was taken off the watch after about a week and put back in a high-security housing unit where he was less closely monitored, but still supposed to be checked on every 30 minutes.

Barr says officials have uncovered “serious irregularities” at the jail. The FBI and the Justice Department’s inspector general are investigating.

“It is indisputable that the authorities violated their own protocols,” Epstein’s lawyers said in a statement late Friday, calling the conditions in the unit where Epstein spent his final hours, “harsh, even medieval.”

In the wake of Epstein’s death, federal prosecutors have shifted their focus to possible charges against anyone who assisted or enabled him in what authorities say was rampant sexual abuse. Barr, on Monday, warned that “any co-conspirators should not rest easy.”

Authorities are most likely turning their attention to the team of recruiters and employees who, according to police reports, knew about Epstein’s penchant for underage girls and lined up victims for him.

The Associated Press reviewed hundreds of pages of police reports , FBI records and court documents that show Epstein relied on an entire staff of associates to arrange massages that led to sex acts.

Meanwhile, the investigation into Epstein’s death is being hampered because some people, including jail staff members who are believed to have information pertinent to the probe, aren’t cooperating and have not yet been interviewed by the FBI, according to a Justice Department official.

The official said the FBI has repeatedly sought interviews with staff members but those interviews are being delayed by union representatives. The official was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.

One possible roadblock to further charges is the controversial plea agreement Epstein struck more than a decade ago in Florida . The non-prosecution agreement not only allowed Epstein to plead guilty in 2008 to lesser state charges and serve just 13 months behind bars, it also shielded from prosecution several Epstein associates who allegedly were paid to recruit girls for him.

The AP often does not report details of suicide methods but has made an exception because Epstein’s cause of death is pertinent to the ongoing investigations.

The Washington Post and The New York Times reported Thursday that the autopsy revealed that a bone in Epstein’s neck had been broken, leading to speculation his death was a homicide. Sampson responded that “no single finding can be evaluated in a vacuum” and experts said the bone in question often breaks in suicidal hangings.

Autopsy reports are not public records in New York, and the details of the medical examiner’s finding, or the evidence she relied upon, were not immediately available.

An office telephone number for Dr. Michael Baden, the pathologist hired by Epstein’s representatives to observe the autopsy, repeatedly rang unanswered on Friday.

Epstein was a wealth manager who hobnobbed with the rich, famous and influential, including presidents and a prince.

He owned a private island in the Caribbean, homes in Paris and New York City, a New Mexico ranch and a fleet of high-price cars. His friends had once included Britain’s Prince Andrew and Bill Clinton and Donald Trump. Clinton and Trump both said they had not seen Epstein in years when new charges were brought against him last month.

The medical examiner’s ruling that Epstein’s death was a suicide came a day after two more women sued Jeffrey Epstein’s estate, saying he sexually abused them. The suit, filed Thursday in a federal court in New York, claims the women were working as hostesses at a popular Manhattan restaurant in 2004 when they were recruited to give Epstein massages.

One was 18 at the time. The other was 20.

The lawsuit says an unidentified female recruiter offered the hostesses hundreds of dollars to provide massages to Epstein, saying he “liked young, pretty girls to massage him,” and wouldn’t engage in any unwanted touching. The women say Epstein groped them anyway.

One plaintiff now lives in Japan, the other in Baltimore. They seek $100 million in damages, citing depression, anxiety, anger and flashbacks.

Other lawsuits, filed over many years by other women, accused him of hiring girls as young as 14 or 15 to give him massages, then subjecting them to sex acts.

___

Michael Balsamo reported from Washington. Associated Press writer Jim Mustian in Atlanta, Georgia, contributed to this report.

 

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