Sex-sting trial beings for ex-UN weapons inspector
Source: Associated Press
A detective posing as an underage girl in an online chat room told a former U.N. weapons inspector he was exchanging sexually graphic messages with a 15-year-old, according to testimony Tuesday in the second online sex-sting case involving the former Marine captain.
Barrett Township police Detective Ryan Venneman testified that Iraq war critic Scott Ritter initiated a sexually explicit conversation with him in a Yahoo chat room in February 2009.
Venneman told the court that Ritter gave him his cellphone number and began masturbating on a video chat. Ritter briefly ended the chat after the detective said he was 15, but soon restarted the video chat and masturbated to completion, the detective testified.
In his opening statement, defense attorney Gary Coleman told the jury that Ritter is a "decorated military hero" who didn't believe he was chatting with an underage girl.
3. I will never believe this charge nor the sex charge against Assange.
Just too convenient for the murdering fucks who make billions from war--slaughtering millions of people and unleashing the additional demons of rape, torture, "turkey shoots" against civilians, massive social mayhem and massive corruption and theft.
They have various ways of taking care of high profile critics who can't be bought. This is one of them.
13. I believe he was caught and released even before that
Before his earlier arrest there were reports he was caught in a sting and the police let him go with a warning.
Anyway, innocent until proven guilty and all that. But I seriously doubt this is an effort to bring down a war critic. If they find a way to pull a Fatty Arbuckle on Michael Moore then I'll believe it.
17. One NYS investigation was dropped. The other one was not---details--
"In the spring of 2001, Colonie police say Ritter twice showed up for meetings with what he believed would be teenage girls. The first time, Ritter was questioned but let go by police who had been posing as a curious 14-year-old girl.
Two months later, Ritter turned up at a fast-food restaurant, where police said they had set up a sexual meeting while posing as a 15-year-old girl. Ritter was arrested on a misdemeanor charge of soliciting a minor. Despite his national prominence, Ritter's arrest was not publicly announced.
Several months later an Albany County prosecutor agreed to classify Ritter's case as an "Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal" (ACOD), an outcome in New York state's criminal law in which a prosecutor agrees to excuse a defendant's behavior in exchange for six months to one year of good behavior. After that time, the case is legally dismissed and the records are sealed from the public as though the incident never occurred. With an ACOD, a defendant becomes legally allowed to deny the arrest occurred, except in special circumstances, such as applying for a job as a police officer or a teacher.
In Ritter's case, his prosecutor was later fired for her decision."
8. Oh, I see. This proves his statements about the great lie being told about Iraq are not credible....
Brilliant, as usual, rightwingers.
If you can impugn the man, you automatically prove right-wing P.O.S.s are right to lie this country into destroying human beings in the most barbaric, heartless, amoral, unconscionable, disprespectful way possible, completely leveling their country, tearing up their water, food, electricity, shelter, hospitals, homes, making their world unliveable after you've slaughtered as many of them as you can.
Yeah, it's really worth it if you can somehow get the goods on the guy who blew the whistle on you earlier.
In right-wing thinking, you win the "moral" war. Oh, yeah. That's rich. Congratulations.
While you're thumbing your flabby chests over it, let us replay all your dirty little claims about "turning Iraq into a sheet of glass", and "letting God sort them out".
Wingers get so courageous whiling away their lives hoping for more destruction of the human beings around them.
23. Of course it doesn't - it is entirely possible that he was both honest on Iraq and
solicits children. People aren't angels or devils. People are more complex.
I have just as much trouble will people saying he is innocent and framed - because he told the truth on Iraq in 2002. (ignoring that he said almost the opposite late 1990s after Clinton asked the inspectors to leave before he bombed Iraq.)
This needs to go to trial and if he is guilty of soliciting kids, he is a pervert - even if he is a pervert, who tried to prevent a war.
24. It is certain that he was right about Iraq in 2002, and speaking directly from his own knowledge.
There were no WMDs, as he said. The WMD claims have since been shown to have been fabrications. He had overseen the destruction of Iraqi WMD programs almost completely prior to 1998, as he said in the 2002 period.
29. All true. However, one of those makes him into a figure of world-historic importance.
The other would be an individual crime for which he must be punished, if he actually did it.
However, that the charges are based on intent or state of mind without actual commission of the crime is disturbing in itself. I have a problem generally with police actions that set up people for crimes that they may not actually ever commit without the police set-up.
That specifically was the target of the sting is dubious. It's hard to believe it wasn't part of a plot to ruin him for Iraq. Whistleblowers and others inconvenient to the national security state seem to be hit with discrediting charges, diagnoses of insanity and sudden suicide at an alarming rate, and I don't think it's because a crazy or criminal or evil nature makes them into whistleblowers.
Although it could be a persistent copper on a crusade to finally land a chosen target, there are lots of those. I also find it hard to believe the copper in question, even if acting entirely on his own, doesn't know about Ritter's antiwar activities and has no opinion whatsoever on the Iraq matter.
All that being said, if all is as presented by the prosecution -- disgusting and wrong on Ritter's part. But in no way changes anything he said or did in relation to Iraq.
38. "Conspiracy theory" is a magic term meant to end debate. We are considering the possibility that...
people in positions of authority may be targeting a whistleblower. We do not know if that is the case, but there would be nothing extraordinary about it, as the long and sordid history of COINTELPRO-type measures demonstrates. If Ritter is the target of a harrassment action (and I'm not saying that he is, only pointing out the possibility), that would put him into the same class as literally hundreds of documented cases of such harrassment perpetrated by people in government positions.
There's no victim, just two consenting adults: one liar, and one apparent idiot who thinks he's talking to an underage girl. But since he's not, where's the crime? I'm not asking on Ritter's behalf--this seems to happen in stings all over the place, and I struggle to understand why this is a prosecutable offense.
And vigorously cross-examine him as to why he was pretending to be a little girl online, and explore the clues he must have given that would cause someone to think that he was merely masquerading as a horny little girl.
And since there was no horny little girl involved, only adults, there is no wronged party.
Or are we going to ban the Catholic Schoolgirl outfits that sell at porn stores, the porn with women of precisely 18 years of age who perform sex acts with their pubic areas shaved so as to tittilate by posing as minors? Are we going to prosecute the husbands whose wives pose as little schoolgirls in the bedroom?
but one I agree with. I'm not comfortable with the "thought-crimes" element of convicting people for having graphic chats with adults pretending to be children. If there's an actual child involved I understand, but an adult (who is probably getting his jollies too) masquerading as a kid blurs too many lines.
22. The OP specifically states that if the state proves intent
then it doesn't matter who was really on the other end. That leaves me with the understanding that this is already settled law. Every day there are stories of internet stings sending people to jail - it appears to me that the justice system has already answered the question.
27. This is an established tool for catching people trying to solicit kids on the internet
These decoys attract people who otherwise would be speaking to actual kids. I assume that police have taken his computer and there my well be real kids he solicited. It still has to be proven in court that this happened in court. If it did, as the mom of three girls - now in their 20s, who were once vulnerable young kids, I am sorry, but what he intended to do could have harmed a child for life.
30. How do you know the people would otherwise be speaking to actual kids?
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 12:45 AM by JackRiddler
There's a world of difference between Internet solicitation and approaching kids on the street. I don't see an identity between these two categories, although there is doubtless an overlap. The threshold for Internet activity is incredibly low compared to approaching strange kids on the street, and the Internet's relative tendency to stir the fantasy that no harmful activity is happening is much higher.
In the Internet case, a cop with an adult knowledge of psychology is breaking his head and pulling out all the stops trying to figure out how best to lure in the sucker. The cop doesn't want to be rejected, he doesn't want to show ambiguity or fear. He isn't going to say anything that discourages the sucker or makes him have second thoughts. The cop is going to try to figure out what is attractive to the sucker and to develop the sucker's attraction.
(None of this is to approve of what the sucker finally does.)
33. In the NY cases, he arranged to meet the "kids" in real life.
I assume you are meaning that if there were similar internet relationships between him and real kids, they might have taken a different course - and he might never have tried to meet them or to masturbate for them on camera.
Is it right to assume that you think that the police need to have a passive method of monitoring these sites? That of course leads to huge privacy issues. Waiting until kids are actually victimized in real life (or even via the internet) means that they get hurt. There is something very sick with men his age chasing kids.
39. If the charges are true I am not uninclined to agree with you.
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 11:02 AM by JackRiddler
Sorry about the hedged language, but it's hard to determine what the course of action should be in preventing crimes against minors. On the whole, both of the named alternatives are dubious (one is spying, the other is setting up a false identity for a sting) but I can't right now think of a third possibility for preventing a serious crime. It's just that one takes up many random people in a net, while the other may be creating "crimes" that would never have happened. I understand that if the charges are true, he believed he was arranging to meet real minors (who presented themselves) in real life. This is still a separate category from approaching minors on the street. The results either way could be just as bad and wrong. But there might never have been any such relations started, if not for an adult posing as a minor and trying to lure Ritter in by whatever means he can devise. I'm willing to admit I don't know for sure what's right and wrong here, other than that it would be wrong for an adult to be "chasing kids," and very dangerous to the kids.
Then there is the fact that this is Ritter, and the fact that police sometimes fabricate evidence to land a case (whether or not as part of a larger conspiracy). I can hardly from here pretend the officer's history with Ritter or the possibility of a harrassment for his whistleblowing cannot be factors in this case.
44. Nice post - and I also hedged at least in several earlier posts
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 11:55 AM by karynnj
saying if true or if convicted.
I agree with you that both methods have downsides. I do get that the fake "minor" could have acted differently than the real minors. It does seem odd that - per the allegations - three of the "minors" he pursued were cops. Either he interacted with many kids - and this was a small percent, or there was something different about them that somehow attracted him.
I would guess the average cop would not recognize the name of Scott Ritter - so long after 2002. (More likely, the last 2 might have known of the first (or first and second). One thing that makes me think something is there - is that, if the first time were somehow innocent, I think a prudent man would avoid online forums like a plaque. I can't imagine not trying to avoid any possible reoccurance of being labeled a sex offender.
34. exacyly - which is why I find the defense of his actions with the kids troubling
If he were a Republican Congressman, there would be a long thread of "Republican family values" comments. I don't get that some can't accept that people can be very good on one dimension and despicable on another.
41. I teach about logical fallacies in my college English comp class and ask the students
If you had a brain tumor, and the best brain surgeon in town cheated on his wife or his taxes, would you still see him or pick a less talented and more virtuous surgeon?
Another way of putting it: Bill Clinton was able to take an important phone call while getting a blowjob under his desk. Baby Bush would have trouble doing either competently let alone at the same time.
45. Yes, but what if the brain surgeon didn't cheat on his taxes and yet let all the plastic surgeons...
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 03:15 PM by JackRiddler
beat him up about false allegations, causing everyone to engage in a constant stream of useless gossip? And during this gossip storm, what if he allowed all of the town's nurses to be fired by the plastic surgeons, even though he said he only did so regretfully? And then what if it turned out that gossip was carcinogenic and contributed to your tumor in the first place? (For the sake of argument, okay?) What then? Because while your simple examples are in themselves self-evident, life and politics are not that simple.
ON EDIT: Ooops, just realized this was a thread about Ritter, not Democrats vs. Republicans. But your comment made me think otherwise. So sorry if the above sounds weird in here.
50. If in the next campaign MTV wants to know whether he wears boxers or briefs, that will be a sign.
So far they've managed to recreate all the major stations of the Clinton presidency, so why not?
- Country: A disaster, at a crossroads. (Now much worse than in '92, but that's how it felt like then too.)
- Most openly criminal regime in history, all mafia and spooks.
- Comes the new slogan: Hope and Change!
- "First black president" - Toni Morrison, on Clinton.
- Soon as he's in: Big sellout to corporate capitalism on all fronts. (Obama: Bailouts instead of NAFTA.)
- No investigation of Bush crimes. Let's move on and look to the future!
- A year spent pretending to do something about health care in the US. (Obama succeeds. It's "something," not nothing. Just not something very much.)
- Republicans go crazy, bay for blood, call him a socialist and a foreign agent, make subtle calls for armed uprisings and assassination, etc. etc.
- Doofuses with guns form militias and walk around in three-corner hats.
- Obama discovers his problem is really the left. Those retards!
- Media covers the idiocy in a "balanced" way. ("Some say the earth is round. Others say it is flat. We will report what they say, and let you decide!")
- Mid-term elections bring a 4-percent reversal that is amazing, sweeping, historic, watershed, shellacking, etc. etc. blah blah blah. Lots of new right-wing radicals take various offices, declare revolution in the making.
- Insane right-wing propaganda leads to violent incidents.
- Suddenly, deficit is supposedly all that matters and Republicans may shut down government!
- Increasingly, Obama looks like a lock for '96, with Republicans likely to advance some old fogey milquetoast who doesn't inspire them (Mittens).
So if MTV now asks about Obama's underwear, you'll know what to expect in a second term.
Goddamn, it sucks to just keep getting older and seeing the same shit happen over and over.
The big differences I suppose are that a) there are honest-to-god uprisings from Egypt to Wisconsin and b) the world is much more toast than it ever was, because we wasted another 16 years following the rules as set by banksters, war-mongers, blindman practitioners of "realpolitik," spooks and petroleum chieftains, and the temperatures are rising and the oil's running out and the debts are quintupled and the crises are converging.
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