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UVA Lacrosse Murder: New Charges Filed Against George Huguely in Death of Yeardley Love

January 10, 2011 Comments off

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS/WTVR/AP) George Huguely, the former University of Virginia lacrosse player being held on a first-degree murder charge for the death of Yeardley Love, has been charged with an additional five counts.

UVA Lacrosse Murder: New Charges Filed Against George Huguely in Death of Yeardley Love

Charlottesville Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Chapman filed the new charges of felony murder, robbery, burglary, statutory burglary, and grand larceny against the 22-year-old Friday.

Huguely waived his right to appear by video at a brief hearing Monday morning when the new charges were entered into the record in Charlottesville General District Court, reports CBS affiliate WTVR.

Charlottesville police have charged Huguely with first-degree murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend and fellow classmate Yeardley Love. Huguely claims the death was an accident.

Upset over their recent break-up, Huguely allegedly broke into Love’s apartment May 3 and shook her while her head struck the wall.

Police say Huguely admitted that he saw blood dripping from 22-year-old’s nose before he pushed her back down on her bed, stole her computer which contained e-mails exchanged between the two, and fled.

Huguely has been in solitary confinement in a Charlottesville jail for the past seven months while awaiting his Jan. 21 preliminary hearing. The hearing has since been postponed to a date still to be determined.

Respectfully submitted via Crimesider (CBS)

Judge denies defense access to medical records of slain U-Va. student Yeardley Love

December 23, 2010 Comments off

A Charlottesville judge ruled Wednesday that defense attorneys cannot review years of medical records of the University of Virginia women’s lacrosse player slain in May, saying the documents contained nothing out of the ordinary or relevant to the case.

In a hearing that lasted about five minutes, General District Court Judge Robert H. Downer Jr. said attorneys for George Huguely V, who is charged with murder in the death of his ex-girlfriend Yeardley Love, could look at Love’s prescription for Adderall but nothing else in her medical records. He said that those records generally were not germane to the case but that they showed Love had not taken any non-prescribed prescription drugs and had no unusual problems with dieting.

Defense attorneys had sought the records in an attempt to prove Love died of cardiac arrhythmia causing insufficient blood flow to the head rather than blunt force trauma inflicted by Huguely. The state medical examiner had ruled that Love died of blunt force trauma to the head.

According to a police affidavit, Huguely, 22, admitted that he had been “involved in an altercation” in which “he shook Love and her head repeatedly hit the wall.”

A defense expert disputed the medical examiner’s finding at a hearing last week. He said his working hypothesis was that Love’s vascular system suffered from a lack of oxygen that contributed to her death. Witnesses testified that Love, 22, had a blood alcohol content of 0.14 and that amphetamine in her body indicated that she had taken Adderall.

The judge’s ruling, though, seems to undercut that hypothesis as a defense for Huguely. Commenting on the records he had reviewed, Downer said there was nothing “remotely embarrassing or unusual for a woman who is a student athlete.” The defense expert testified that cardiac arrhythmia probably occurred after the blunt force injuries that Love suffered.

Huguely, of Chevy Chase, remains jailed until a preliminary hearing in January.

Respectfully submitted via The Washington Post,  Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post Staff Writer

 

Fight Back; Dealing With Sexual Harassment On College Campuses…

August 16, 2010 Comments off

Fight Back; Dealing With Sexual Harassment On College Campuses…

Every 21 hours a college female is raped. Fifteen percent of all college women are sexually victimized during their time at school (U.S. Department of Justice study). Seven out of every ten college women will experience some form of sexual harassment (Planned Parenthood study) before graduation, but relatively few will report the incident. Unfortunately, in today’s world, learning about how to stay safe is just as, if not more, important than learning about history and math. Here are some steps you can take to avoid becoming just another statistic.

Get the Facts

The U.S. government defines “sexual harassment” as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.” Deliberately loosely written, this definition includes anything from inappropriate comments to unwelcome touching to sexual assault. Sexual harassment can occur on any campus at any time and can happen to any person regardless of gender, race, sexual orientation, or social/economic background. Harassment can take the form of verbal, nonverbal, or physical confrontation. The act is about power rather than sexual gratification, and those who allow sexual harassment to continue have their right to live in a positive, comfortable environment taken away.

Speak Out

Ignoring the situation only gives the harasser permission to continue. If you feel like someone is going beyond your comfort zone, tell him or her in a direct, assertive way. Specify exactly what makes you feel uncomfortable, and state that if the behavior continues, action will be sought. Documenting this statement in either letter or e-mail form (complete with dates and times) will provide proof that the conduct in question was recognized and that you asked for it to stop. Telling friends and colleagues will alert those around you, and telling professors and campus security will help prevent the action in the future. Should harassment become more severe, alert campus authorities, file an official complaint, file charges and seek help through your school’s crisis prevention center.  File a report with the city/town police department as well.

Speaking up against sexual harassment is the only effective way to protect yourself and your community from potential danger.

Take care and STAY SAFE!

Could Yeardley Love and Other Victims Have Been Saved?…

July 13, 2010 Comments off

Could Yeardley Love  and Other Victims Have Been Saved?…

Since the brutal murder of UVA lacrosse player, Yeardley Love, the media, Advocates and Experts have been questioning, “Could Yeardley Love have been saved?”  Many of us wonder and ask why George Huguely hadn’t been stopped before.  He was witnessed strangling Love at a party, attacked a fellow teammate while they slept for supposedly kissing Love.  Why didn’t anyone (friends, family members, team mates, coaches, Professors, team doctors and assistants) intervene?

In my expert opinion ABSOLUTELY!

The alleged mount of evidence from previous abuse by Hugely would not have given Yeardley Love an Order of Protection since VA doesn’t offer this to individuals in dating relationships where violence is present; but there seems to have been mountains of altercations, abuse and assaults to put him  in prison long before he took Love’s life.

If only someone would have assisted Yeardley, extended a hand to her in Advocacy.  Yeardley was let down by everyone in my opinion across the board.  This is why I am working so damn hard to bring much needed education and awareness to our young people (specifically females) and referring males to other resources.

Once abuse in any form starts….it DOES NOT STOP/END, it only escalates.  Students, parents, university administration, professors, coaches, etc. MUST be educated as well.  They must be proactive, learn how to recognize abuse and step up to the plate in advocacy to assist and help a victim of abuse.

Time is of the essence and if we don’t start by educating our young people more and more will be dying at the hands of their assailants.

Maureen Dowd published an interesting article in the New York Times discussing how youth at Landon Private School  (Hugely attended Landon) as young as 14 are exhibiting similar behavior and what is/isn’t being done about it.

It was set up like a fantasy football league draft. The height, weight and performance statistics of the draftees were offered to decide who would make the cut and who would emerge as the No. 1 pick.

But the players in this predatory game were not famous N.F.L. stars. They were unwitting girls about to start high school.

A group of soon-to-be freshmen boys at Landon, an elite private grade school and high school for boys in the wealthy Washington suburb of Montgomery County, Md., was drafting local girls.

One team was called “The Southside Slampigs,” and one boy dubbed his team with crude street slang for drug-addicted prostitutes.

The young woman who was the “top pick” was described by one of the boys in a team profile he put up online as “sweet, outgoing, friendly, willing to get down and dirty and [expletive] party. Coming in at 90 pounds, 5’2 and a bra size 34d.” She would be a special asset to the team, he noted, because her mother “is quite the cougar herself.”

Before they got caught last summer, the boys had planned an “opening day party,” complete with T-shirts, where the mission was to invite the drafted girls and, unbeknownst to them, score points by trying to rack up as many sexual encounters with the young women as possible.

“They evidently got points for first, second and third base,” said one outraged father of a drafted girl. “They were going to have parties and tally up the points, and money was going to be exchanged at the end of the season.” He said that the boys would also have earned points for “schmoozing with the parents.”

His daughter, he said, “was very upset about it. She thought these guys were her friends. This is the way we teach boys to treat women, young ladies? You have enough to worry about as a 14- or 15-year-old girl without having to worry about guys who are doing it as sport.”

Another parent was equally appalled: “I think the girls felt like they were getting targeted, that this was some big game. Talk about using people. It doesn’t get much worse than that.”

Landon is where the sons of many prominent members of the community are sent to learn “the code of character,” where “a Landon man” is part of a “true Brotherhood” and is known for his good word, respect and honesty. The school’s Web site boasts about the Landon Civility Code; boys are expected to “work together to eliminate all forms of disrespect” and “respect one another and our surroundings in our decorum, appearance, and interactions.”

The Washington suburban community of private school parents has also been reeling this spring from the tragedy involving former Landon student George Huguely V, a scion of the family that owned the lumber business that helped build the nation’s capital.

Huguely, who was a University of Virginia lacrosse player, was charged in the brutal death of his sometime girlfriend, Yeardley Love, a lacrosse player on the university’s women’s team who also hailed from Maryland.

The lovely young woman’s door was kicked in and her head was smashed over and over into the wall.

The awful crime, chronicled on the cover of People with the headline “Could She Have Been Saved?,” raised haunting questions about why Huguely had not already been reported to authorities, even though other lacrosse players had seen him choke Love at a party and his circle knew that the athlete had attacked a sleeping teammate whom he suspected had kissed Love. Huguely had also been so out-of-control drunk, angry and racially abusive with a policewoman in 2008 that she had to Taser him.

In The Washington Post, the sports columnist Sally Jenkins wrote about the swagger of young male athletes and the culture of silence that protects their thuggish locker-room behavior.

“His teammates and friends, the ones who watched him smash up windows and bottles and heard him rant about Love,” she wrote. “Why didn’t they turn him in? … Why did they not treat Yeardley Love as their teammate, too?”

Some of the parents of girls drafted for the Landon sex teams think that the punishment for those culpable should have been greater, and the notification to parents should have been more thorough. Was the macho culture of silence in play?

Jean Erstling, Landon’s director of communications, said she was “aware of the incident” but that “student records including disciplinary infractions are confidential.”

She said that “Landon has an extensive ethics and character education program which includes as its key tenets respect and honesty. Civility toward women is definitely part of that education program.”

Time for a curriculum overhaul. Young men everywhere must be taught, beyond platitudes, that young women are not prey.

I couldn’t agree more with Maureen all school curriculum needs MAJOR overhaul as well as educating our parents and our girls what they should additionally be asking universities and colleges of interest regarding crime stats, reporting policy and procedures.  There is much more to choosing higher education than just “why should I major in” or the look of the dorm and campus. And, they MUST DO THEIR OWN RESEARCH.  Do not just take a representative’s word for it.  Inquire at the city/town/county law departments; google schools, Security On Campus, Inc.; know and become familiar with The Clery Act Compliance.

DO NOT BECOME A STATISTIC!

Text Messages Become a Growing Weapon in Dating Violence, Part 3…

July 1, 2010 1 comment

Text Messages Become a Growing Weapon in Dating Violence, Part 3…

Last year, Maryland passed a bill to encourage — rather than require — school districts to teach the topic. It was less than what Bill and Michele Mitchell, who lost their 21-year-old daughter, Kristin, to dating violence, wanted. But it was a start, and the couple from Ellicott City will continue to push, they say.

Bill Mitchell says he hopes that more young people will begin to see warning signs where his family did not.

Just hours before she was killed in 2005, Kristin had texted her boyfriend: “You are being ridiculous. Why cant i do something with my friends.”

He later found and heard about other texts, including one that asked why she had gone to her class rather than spend time with her boyfriend. Kristin was in her senior year at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and graduated three weeks before her death.

Says Mitchell: “Text messaging, in the wrong hands, has to be about the worst thing that’s come along when we’re talking about dating violence and controlling personalities.”

Being tracked

In a recent survey, nearly one in four of those ages 14 to 24 reported that partners check in multiple times a day to see where they are or who they are with, and more than one in 10 said partners demanded passwords, according to a survey by the Associated Press and MTV.

One challenge is that many teens do not view excessive texting as a problem and may not recognize abusive behaviors. “If you’re getting 50 messages an hour and you want 50 messages an hour, that’s not a problem,” says Marjorie Gilberg, executive director of Break the Cycle, which works to end dating violence. “But if you’re getting 50 messages an hour and you don’t even want one, that’s very different.”

These sorts of topics are addressed through a teen help line called Love Is Respect and several national awareness campaigns, including MTV’s effort on digital abuse, A Thin Line, a joint effort on digital dating abuse called That’s Not Cool and the initiative Love Is Not Abuse.

In California, Jill Murray says her cases have included a 16-year-old whose ex-boyfriend paid four friends to help him text when he was asleep or at work. “It was like psychological torture.”

Murray urges parents to pay more attention to their children’s texting lives, checking to see how many messages they get, at what hour and from whom. “Parents don’t know this is going on whatsoever,” she says.

Text Messages Become a Growing Weapon in Dating Violence…Part 2

June 30, 2010 Comments off

Text Messages Become a Growing Weapon in Dating Violence…Part 2

As a parent, Lynne Russell thinks the privacy of text messaging helped obscure the danger that her daughter, Siobhan “Shev” Russell, 19, faced. The teenager from Oak Hill, Va., was killed by her boyfriend in April 2009, 10 weeks after delivering a graduation speech at Mountain View Alternative High School.

Later, Lynne Russell and her husband found scores of texts, some disturbing, that Siobhan’s boyfriend, now 18, had sent. “I don’t think she recognized the warning signs, and we didn’t see the signs until it was too late,” says Russell, who plans to start a dating-violence awareness campaign in the fall.

A federal survey released this month showed one of 10 high school students nationally reported being hit, slapped or physically hurt by a boyfriend or girlfriend during the previous year. In Maryland, which did a similar survey, one in six said they were hurt.

Although such surveys do not show a rise in violence, the texting culture has changed the experience.

In Rockville, a woman in her 20s was so closely tracked that her partner insisted that she text him photos to prove her whereabouts — each with a clock displaying the time, says Hannah Sassoon, coordinator of Montgomery County’s domestic violence response team.

Katalina Posada, 22, a recent graduate of the University of Maryland, says one of her friends is frequently texted by a jealous boyfriend. “It’s like the 20 questions a parent would ask,” she says, adding that she finally told her friend: “This isn’t right.”

Textual harassment is getting more attention as concerns about dating violence mount. In the past several years, about a dozen states have passed or are considering laws to bring dating violence education into schools.

The legislative push comes partly from parents such as Gary Cuccia, a Pennsylvania father whose daughter, Demi Brae, was killed a day after her 16th birthday in 2007. Cuccia says his daughter had broken up with her teenage boyfriend, whom the family thought of as likable, if a little jealous.

In the days before Demi’s death, Cuccia would later learn, her ex-boyfriend texted her again and again: “You know you can’t live without me,” he wrote. “U need to see me.” And: “I’m ballin my eyes.”

When Demi finally agreed to see the boy, he came over when she was alone and stabbed her 16 times in her living room.

Her father says he thinks that the largely private nature of texting is an important aspect of the problem.

“When I was growing up, we had one phone in the whole house, and if you were fighting with your girlfriend, everybody knew about it,” Cuccia says.

Text Messages Become a Growing Weapon in Dating Violence…Part 1

June 29, 2010 Comments off

Text Messages Become a Growing Weapon in Dating Violence...Part 1

The text messages to the 22-year-old Virginia woman arrived during the day and night, sometimes 20 or 30 at once. Her ex-boyfriend wanted her back. He would not be refused. He texted and called 758 times.

In New York, a 17-year-old trying to break up with her boyfriend got fewer messages, but they were menacing. “You don’t need nobody else but me,” read one. Another threatened to kill her.

It is all part of what is increasingly called “textual harassment,” a growing aspect of dating violence at a time when cellphones and unlimited texting plans are ubiquitous among the young. It can be insidious, because messages pop up at the sender’s will: Where r u? Who r u with? Why didnt u answer me?

“It’s gotten astonishingly worse in the last two years,” says Jill Murray, who has written several books on dating violence and speaks on the topic nationally. Especially for those who have grown up in digital times, “it’s part and parcel of every abusive dating relationship now.”

The harassed often feel compelled to answer the messages, whether they are one-word insults or 3 a.m. demands. Texts arrive in class, at the dinner table, in movie theaters — 100 or more a day, for some.

Harassment is “just easier now, and it’s even more persistent and constant, with no letting up,” says Claire Kaplan, director of sexual and domestic violence services at the University of Virginia, which became the focus of national attention in May with the killing of 22-year-old lacrosse player Yeardley Love.

Police have charged Love’s ex-boyfriend, George Huguely V, also 22, with first-degree murder and allege that he removed her computer from the crime scene as he fled. Police were investigating whether Huguely sent Love threatening e-mails or text messages.

Kacey Kirkland, a victim services specialist with the Fairfax County Police Department, has seen textual harassment in almost every form: Threats. Rumors. Lies. Late-night questions.

“The advances in technology are assisting the perpetrators in harassing and stalking and threatening their victims,” Kirkland says.

In the case involving the 22-year-old who received 758 messages from her ex-boyfriend — all unanswered — the harassment led to stalking charges and a protective order, Kirkland says.

Harassment by text is only one facet of abusive relationships, which often involve contact in person, by phone, by e-mail, and through Facebook or other social networking sites.

Warning signs hidden

“What technology offers is irrefutable evidence of the abuse,” says Cindy Southworth, founder of the Safety Net Project on technology at the National Network to End Domestic Violence, who says it helps in court and is hoping for an increase in conviction rates.

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