Bleats

R Kelly Has Been Charged With Sexual Abuse And His Court Date Says A Whole Lot

He has been charged with ten counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four victims.

R Kelly has been indicted on ten counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four alleged victims.

Kelly is scheduled to appear in court on Saturday Chicago time for a bail hearing, with his arraignment scheduled for March 8th, which also happens to be International Women’s Day.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the alleged incidents span from 1998 to 2010. Three of the four alleged victims were between the ages of 13 to 16 when the incidents took place, and each count of aggravated criminal sexual conduct carries a sentence of up to seven years in prison.

The announcement follows years of rumours, that culminated in an online campaign called #MuteRKelly and a documentary, Surviving R Kelly, that aired in the US last month. Kelly has strongly denied all accusations.

It also follows the convening of a grand jury in Chicago earlier this month. The grand jury was convened as a result of new allegations against Kelly, including lawyer Michael Avenatti announcing he had handed over a video to the State’s Attorney’s Office that he claimed showed Kelly having sex with an underage girl.

Avenatti told reporters:

“This tape leaves no question as to whether R. Kelly is guilty of multiple sexual, illegal acts against a 14-year-old girl.”

He also said that Chicago prosecutor Kimberly Foxx’s investigation was “very thorough … dedicated and methodical.”

On Thursday, two more women came forward, accompanied by lawyer Gloria Allred, to accuse Kelly of sexual misconduct that allegedly took place when they were minors.

During the arraignment on March 8th, R Kelly will be expected to enter a plea.

Protesters Filled A Melbourne Tram With Flowers To Highlight Violence Against Women In The Wake Of Another Death

The tram travelled from Bourke Street to Bundoora.

Yesterday evening in Melbourne, more than 1000 mourners gathered on the steps of Parliament House for a vigil in remembrance of Aiia Maasarwe.

They were joined by Aiia’s father, Saeed Maasarwe, who had travelled to Melbourne on Wednesday to identify his daughter’s body. Earlier in the day, he visited the place her body was found, and through tears, told reporters:

“I am sad because this is the last place my daughter was. I have many dreams to be with her but I cannot now. I want to be with her more. But someone decide I cannot be.”

Many of the mourners had brought flowers and cards with messages for Aiia and her family, as well as protest signs that asked questions like, “Am I next?” and “My outrage cannot fit on this page!”

Aiia’s father sat in silence on the steps, surrounded by people who’d never met his daughter but who felt deeply affected by her death nonetheless. Following the silent vigil, he collected some of the cards with messages for Aiia.

In a fittingly Melbourne tribute, the 8.01pm 86 tram from Bourke Street to Bundoora, where Aiia was found on Wednesday morning, was filled with mourners bearing flowers and candles.

People waited at nearly every stop along the route to pay their respects, and many of them handed flowers to those on board the tram, riding it as it travelled through the inner-west towards Bundoora.

After arriving at Bundoora, the flowers were taken to a makeshift memorial that has been established where Aiia was found on Wednesday.

Aiia Maasarwe was a 21-year old Palestinian attending La Trobe University on exchange, where she was studying English. In the caption of one Instagram video, she described her decision to go on exchange as the “best decision I ever made”.

A 20-year-old man was taken into custody on Friday regarding Aiia’s death, but charges have not yet been laid.

NSW Government To Overhaul Sexting Laws By Treating Teens Like Actual Adults

The new laws come into effect today.

The NSW government has overhauled the laws regarding sexting, with the changes coming into effect today.

Under the new laws, teenagers under the age of 18 who take, share or keep nude photographs of themselves or others won’t be convicted of possessing child pornography, especially if the nudes were sent or received consensually.

Previously, teens who engaged in sexting could be charged with possessing child pornography. But thanks to these changes, the government believes that “normal sexual development and experimentation among teenagers” is no longer at risk of becoming criminalised.

The new laws also provide for a ‘similar age’ defence for consensual sex, where both teenagers are at least 14 years old and the age gap between them is no larger than two years.

These changes have been introduced following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Attorney-General Mark Speakman told the ABC that the changes were “putting the safety of children front and centre and fixing shortcomings in the law” highlighted by the royal commission.

Consensual sexting has been a normal part of adolescence since mobile phones were invented, and these changes do a good job of recognising that.

Teenagers who send photos of themselves should never have been at risk of facing charges of child pornography possession, but the law is often slow to adapt to changes in technology and society.

This is still a rule tho.

Other changes that have been implemented include the criminalisation of grooming the parent or carer of a child for sexual purposes, and knowing an adult working in an organisation poses a risk of abusing a child and failing to reduce or remove the risk.

In addition, historical child abuse offences will be sentenced based on today’s sentencing guidelines, rather than the guidelines in effect at the time of the offence, and courts will no longer be able to consider an offender’s good character a mitigating factor when sentencing in historical child sex offences.

That means that no matter how nice an offender may seem, no matter how many hours they’ve volunteered at church bake sales or school fetes, the judge will not be able to consider that when deciding on a sentence. Considering assaulting a child proves you’re actually not a good person, these new laws make sense.

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