Category Archives: Crime

Great investigative series on sexual abuse by doctors

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has just published a great investigative series, Doctors & Sex Abuse.

The lead article, “License to Betray“, appeared July 8.

Here’s the newspaper’s description of how the project got started.

As is often the case with investigative reporting, this series in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution grew out of other work. Reporter Danny Robbins was examining orders by the Georgia Composite Medical Board for his 2015 stories on prison medical care. In doing so, he saw orders allowing doctors to continue practicing after a finding that they had sexually violated patients.

He compiled those orders, discovering about 70 cases clearly involving sexual misconduct. And in about two-thirds of those cases, he was shocked to find, doctors either didn’t lose their licenses or were reinstated after being sanctioned. That included doctors who had repeatedly crossed the line with patients.

To see if Georgia was an exception, the AJC hired a legal researcher to study laws governing medical practices in every state, as reporters gathered studies and looked for cases around the country, compiled from news reports and other public sources. That work raised questions about the pervasiveness of doctor sexual misconduct. The research, and periodic scrutiny from other news organizations, also suggested that doctors were treated differently from other sexual offenders.

The series is a real eye-opener.

The state-by-state guide cites a single case in Hawaii. Robert McCormick Browne was a psychiatrist at Kamehameha Schools who is accused of molesting dozens of boys between 1947 and 1985. He committed suicide 25 years ago when the allegations became public.

The newspaper notes one “key fact” about Hawaii’s disciplinary system.

The state only keeps disciplinary information on its website for five years, one of the most limited periods in the nation.

Just another area in which Hawaii shortchanges the public when it comes to information access.

News report of “police conspiracy” missed the mark

For those of you who don’t routinely check out Civil Beat, you might be interested in the column that I wrote last week (“Ian Lind: HPU-Police ‘Conspiracy’ Report Told Less Than Half the Story“).

It was triggered by a Hawaii news Now story a couple of weeks ago about a lawsuit alleging that a former HPU professor had been “set up” by two others at HPU to be killed by police. When the story said one of those involved was an experienced former HPD officer, it gave me one of those “Did I hear that right?” moments and was just strange enough to prompt me to check out the tale.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, court records provided a lot more of the background to the case. Most of the background called into question the lawsuit’s allegations and, in fact, its overall narrative, which had been uncritically repeated by HNN.

It isn’t known just how HNN decided to broadcast the lawsuits allegations almost as if they were fact, but apparently without doing any basic independent checking.

And its not clear to me why the attorney handing the case would go so far out on a limb with allegations where there’s such a contradictory back story.

But its a case that certainly reminds us that it’s best to read actively and not assume that the news media has done their homework.

New Report: Reduce crime by investing in economic justice and policing

Don’t miss this story from the Washington Post, which reports the conclusions of a new study on criminal justice reform by the White House Council on Economic Advisors (“Obama’s advisers just revealed an unconventional solution to mass incarceration“).

The report compares approaches to reducing the nation’s crime rate, and concludes that indirect solutions will result in greater crime reduction than simply spending more on prisons and incarceration.

According the Post:

They forecast that hiking the federal minimum hourly wage from $7.25 to $12 would reduce crime by 3 percent to 5 percent, as fewer people would be forced to turn to illegal activity to make ends meet.

That’s more than the 1 to 4 percent reduction projected to result from a $10 billion increase in spending on prisons.

Here’s another tidbit from the Post story:

The most effective way to reduce crime would be to spend more money on policing, the report projects. Research consistently shows that departments with more manpower and technology do a better job of protecting the public, and the United States has 35 percent fewer officers relative to the population than do other countries on average.

I’ve never seen that statistic before, and will have to check the report itself for additional information.

If it’s true, then we have substantially fewer police officers, but have far more people in prison than other countries.

In any case, the report itself can be found here.

Click here to view the highlights of the report in what appears to be a presentation about the report by the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors.

UH Manoa among campuses hit by anti-Semitic flyers

The University of Hawaii at Manoa was among the college campuses across the country where anti-Semitic flyers were printing out in department offices.

A copy of the flyer was found after printing out from a networked office printer in the UH-Manoa Women’s Studies Department Thursday morning, It was reported to campus officials, and campus IT staff were trying to trace its origin through the IP address recorded by the printer.

According to published accounts, the flyers campus networks had apparently been hacked, allowing the unsolicited printing.

According to the website,

The flyers turned out in printers at Smith College in Northampton, Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, as well as Northeastern University in Boston, DePaul University in Chicago, Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey, and the University of Southern California, said Robert Trestan, executive director of the New England Anti-Defamation League.

The flyers urged people to “join us in the struggle for global white supremacy.”

They include a link to a neo-Nazi website featuring a headline, “Total Fascism”.

Gabbard ties to cult in background as fatal boating accident case goes to prosecutors

I’m wondering how long it will take the mainstream media to acknowledge the widely available information linking the operator of the boat involved in a fatal accident off Kailua Beach to a well-known cult, and its association with Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

It’s obviously a politically sensitive issue, and everybody is being as careful as possible as they report on the incident.

There were a couple of important news stories yesterday, KHON reported that the accident case had finally been turned over to city prosecutors by the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The report questioned the delay, and asked whether DLNR staff are trained to handle this kind of criminal investigation. The story also questioned whether the boat involved in the incident had been impounded or evidence gathered from it after the incident.

Other online accounts have reported the boat was not impounded and has been spotted and photographed in Kailua.

KHON identified the boat’s operator and registered owner, Sai Hansen, but did not pursue the link to the Science of Identity Foundation, which is the legal entity behind the cult headed by Chris Butler, known as Jagad Guru.

Hawaii News Now reported prosecutors are considering negligent homicide charges against Hansen.

HNN also reported that Hansen has a history of complaints regarding dangerous operations of the boat in the same area.

“I’ve received reports, several reports, of the activities of an individual down there with an orange zodiac racing up and down the waters,” said Heen.

“The people in Kailua that I have heard from are crying out for something to be done to curb the activities of this one individual.”

Heen’s surfacing in the case could become significant. Heen is a former federal judge and former chair of the Democratic Party in Hawaii.

Last year, Civil Beat did a good job of running down the “rumors” of Gabbard’s ties to the Butler cult (“Tulsi Gabbard Still Dogged By Krishna Cult Rumors“). It’s a good summary of what’s publicly known.

At that time, Gabbard dodged questions about her ties to the Butler group.

The handling of the case against Sai Hansen shifts the focus from simply whether or not Congresswoman Gabbard was ever a member of the cult, to whether her ties to the group resulted in special treatment by authorities.

Hawaii News Now quoted Walter Heen:

“I am relieved that the prosecutor is taking it over. There has been some rumors, there have been some rumors for years that the DLNR has gone easy on regulating activities down there in general,” said former state appellate court judge Walter Heen, who is Shim’s uncle.

Whether he’s referring to DLNR going light on activities associated with the cult, or to commercial activities on Kailua Beach, isn’t clear.

But it’s sounding more like the questions need to be asked.