Showing posts with label Sexual Abuse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sexual Abuse. Show all posts

October 11, 2018

Boys Talking About Sexual Assault Encouraged to Come to The Right Answers By Themselves

In the basement of a suburban Philadelphia home, a half-dozen high school freshman boys recently met to munch on chips and pretzels ... and to talk about sexual assault in the wake of the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.
A Jewish organization called Moving Traditions brought them together as part of its programs to encourage teenagers to talk about this and other difficult issues.
Volunteer group leader Cody Greenes, 35, introduced the week's topic by asking the boys to raise their hands if they've heard of the #MeToo movement. Then Greenes lead a discussion about the historical power differences between men and women and how that can play out when it comes to sex.
After talking about the larger issue, Greenes posed this question: "Do we believe that verbal consent is necessary?"
Most of the boys said yes, but one, David Levin, argued it isn't always simple. He described a situation on a bus where both people already said they're interested in each other and the girl purposely sat next to the boy. "And then she like puts a blanket around you two and lays down, and cuddles into you and grabs your hand so you can hold hands and stuff," says Levin, who suggested those are signs of consent.
Complicating the discussion, the boys talk about a case where verbal consent may not be enough, say if a movie producer asks a subordinate to have sex.
Arriving at the right answer on your own
Moving Traditions founder and CEO Deborah Meyer says the goal is not to tell teens how they should behave, but give them space and guidance to arrive at the right answer with their peers.
"We help guys uncover the tenderness and the connection and the joy in themselves, as a human being, and develop for themselves a sense of ethics and values and responsibility," Meyer says.
Talking about sexual assault and consent this way sounds different from what a lot of people heard in the past, often during presentations for incoming college freshman.
"We gave females rape whistles and mace and we told them to be careful when they went out. And then we would sit down and talk to men and tell them not to be rapists," says Sharyn Potter, Professor of Sociology at the University of New Hampshire.
Bringing in the bystanders
Potter says research shows that only a small percentage of men are perpetrators so it doesn't make sense to frame this as a men-versus-women problem. Instead, she focuses on educating the community with a "bystander intervention strategy".
"We teach people to be aware of these situations and then we give people the skills to intervene in these situations before, during and after," says Potter, who also co-directs the Prevention Innovations Research Center at UNH.
Potter says it can be difficult to encourage people to intervene because they're often concerned about being seen as a "killjoy" or "party pooper." She says what's needed is cultural change like what happened with movement to end drunk driving.
Decades back, most people were uncomfortable taking a friend's keys when they're too drunk to drive. But after years of research and education campaigns, the rate of alcohol-related traffic deaths has been cut in half since the 1980s.
Potter says for sexual assault this kind of culture change is just getting started. But there are examples.
One of the teenagers from the Moving Traditions group, Matthew O'Donnell, says he's already used these skills as a high school freshman. At a football game, he says another guy was touching a girl and trying to get her to be intimate. He wasn't sure it was a problem but just in case he made an excuse to separate them.
"When I saw it happening I was just kind of like, 'Oh, I have to go to the bathroom.' And the bathroom was on the other side of the stadium," O'Donnell says he asked the guy to come with him and the potential problem was averted.
Potter says that's a perfect example of identifying a situation and then intervening in a way that doesn't make a big fuss. She says more of that, along with praise for people like O'Donnell when they intervene, will lead to the culture change that could result in fewer sexual assaults in the future.

August 20, 2018

Under Age Jimmy Bennett Alleges Asia Argento Enticed Him to Sex and Tried to Pay Him Off

Introduction: When Bourdain committed suicide things started unraveling for Asia.  She helped bring down Weinstein and everyone seemed to be glad about that but having her partner commit suicide it was something else. The guessing and investigating which was going on quietly became very loud particularly when it was found out Jimmy Bennett was suing her. She tried paying him off but this was before Bourdain's death, now things have changed. by the way Asia is not involved in Weisntein legal charges.🦊Adam

#MeToo advocate Asia Argento, one of the first women to accuse disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, paid off an ex-child actor who accused her of sexual misconduct,according to legal documents obtained by The New York Times.  
 Jimmy and Asia
  Jimmy Bennett, who was 17 at the time of the encounter, alleges that he was assaulted by Argento in a California hotel in 2013, when the actress was 37. (The age of consent in California is 18.) Bennett’s lawyer notified Argento last November of his intention to sue for $3.5 million for emotional distress, lost wages, assault and battery – a month after she went public with her allegations against Weinstein. The Italian actress agreed to pay him $380,000.           
Three people familiar with the case told the Times the documents were authentic.
USA TODAY has reached out to Argento’s representative for comment. Bennett declined comment to the Times.
Argento, 42, and Bennett, now 22, co-starred as a teenage mother and her son in the 2004 film “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things,” which Argento directed and co-wrote.           
The actors stayed in touch on social media, and Bennett says she assaulted him when they met up on May 9, 2013, at the Ritz-Carlton in Marina del Rey, California. The documents say she gave him alcohol and pulled his pants off for oral sex and intercourse. According to the Times, Argento noted the occasion on Instagram: “Happiest day of my life reunion with @jimmymbennett xox.”          
In October, the actress told The New Yorker that   Weinstein forcibly performed oral sex on her at a hotel in France, where she was attending Cannes Film Festival in 1997. Weinstein has said their relationship was consensual.          
This May, Argento  gave a fiery speech about sexual assault at the closing ceremony of Cannes. "This festival was his hunting ground," she told the black-tie crowd. "I want to make a prediction: Harvey Weinstein will never be welcomed here ever again. He will live in disgrace, shunned by a film community that once embraced him and covered up for his crimes.          
“Even tonight,” she continued, “sitting among you, there are those who still have to be held accountable for their conduct against women, for behavior that does not belong in this industry, does not belong in any industry. You know who you are. But most importantly, we know who you are. And we’re not going to allow you to get away with it any longer.”          
Rose McGowan, Argento's fellow warrior in the war on Weinstein, communicated her dismay over the report  via Twitter early Monday morning.           
"I got to know Asia Argento ten months ago. Our commonality is the shared pain of being assaulted by Harvey Weinstein," McGowan shared. "My heart is broken. I will continue my work on behalf of victims everywhere."          
The two appeared to have grown close in the short amount of time. In June, following    the death of Argento's boyfriend, Anthony Bourdain, she partnered with McGowan to pen a statement pleading with people not to place blame for the celebrity chef-TV host's suicide.          
"On behalf of me and all who are hurting because of this unfathomable loss, I have asked the strongest woman I know, Rose McGowan, to be my voice, to help me shoulder this burden and write truth," Argento said in a statement issued to USA TODAY at the time.          
By Kim Willis, USA TODAY
Contributing: The Associated Press 

August 17, 2018

These Are The Most Shocking Cases of PA. Priets Sexually Abusing Boys and Girls-Watch Out for the Gold Cross



, York Daily Record

A two-year investigation of sexual abuse of children within six Catholic diocese came to a head on Tuesday, with the release of a report that details decades of abuse, and names 301 priests.
Even in a list filled with hundreds of shocking accusations, several stick out as particularly horrific or extreme cases of leadership turning their heads away from situations.
Here are some examples of these over-the-top cases. A warning, some of the information listed below is extremely graphic. 
A 'ring of predatory priests'
During the course of the grand jury investigation, it uncovered a 'ring of predatory priests' within the Diocese of Pittsburgh who "shared intelligence" regarding victims, exchanged the victims amongs themselves and manufactured child pornography. The group included George Zirwas, Francis Pucci, Robert Wolk and Richard Zula, and they used whips, violence and sadism in raping their victims. 
One victim, who is identified as "George," was made to get up on a bed. As the priests watched, they asked George to remove his shirt. Drawing on the image of Christ on the cross, they asked George to remove his pants. The priests began taking Polaroid pictures of him. 
George said the photos were added to a collection of similar photographs depicting other teenage boys. 
The priests, George testified, had a group of favored boys who they would take on trips and give gifts. 
"He (Zirwas) had told me they, the priests, would give their boys, their altar boys or their favorite boys these crosses," George testified. "So he gave me a big gold cross to wear."
In the report, the grand jury said, the crosses "were a designation that these children were victims of sexual abuse. They were a signal to other predators that the children had been desensitized to sexual abuse and were optimal targets for further victimization."

'A touchy/feely time'

In 2003, a woman notified the Diocese of Harrisburg that she was touched sensually by Rev. George Koychick while at St. Patrick’s in York. A report in Koychick’s Diocesan files revealed that when asked if there was any truth to the allegations, he said, “Yes, it was when I was going through a touchy/feely time in my life.”
In the file, Koychick admits to sensually rubbing multiple young girls, and said he had an attraction to them.
“This is a test of ones faith,” he said in the document. “I have lived in fear for years wondering if anyone would come forward with an allegation.”
Over the years, multiple allegations were rendered against Koychick before he retired. Read more details on those here
VIDEO: Survivors of child sexual abuse from priests share their stories in a video shown before Tuesday's news conference detailing decades of abuse. Office of Attorney General Josh Shapiro

'Highly imaginative minds of pubescent girls'

In October 1965, the Diocese of Harrisburg received a phone call that Rev. Charles Procopio had molested multiple girls in the seventh and eighth grade. The person who made the call said the girls told the principal of the school – Sacred Heart of Jesus in Harrisburg – but nothing happened in response.
The actions include “immodest touches” and making motions simulating intercourse while his body was pressed against a girl.
The diocese sent a memorandum in return, noting that Propocio’s touches were “manifestations of his effusive nature, imprudent but pure on his part.”
He also wrote that the actions were “distorted interpretation in the highly imaginative minds of pubescent girls.”
The diocese allowed Procopio to stay in ministry.
The historic report detailed decades of abuse by hundreds of priests. John Buffone,

Sexual abuse to daughters and a granddaughter

Multiple diocesan memorandums in September 1994 advised that a family living in Florida, formerly of Lancaster, made sexual molestation allegations against Rev. Guido Miguel Quiroz Reyes, OFM, who had served at the Hispanic Center in Lancaster.
When the family moved to Florida in 1980, they asked Reyes if he wanted to live with them. He did so from 1980 to 1993. 
In 1993, the family confronted him, alleging that he sexually abused two girls in the family in the 1970s when they were minors and living in Lancaster. They said the abuse continued when they moved to Florida.
It was also believed he sexually abused a minor granddaughter.
The report does not give details about when the family learned of the abuse. 

‘You are a demon-child’

In 2004, a woman reported to the Diocese of Harrisburg that she was abused by Rev. Timothy Sperber in 1979. The victim said she was between 9 and 10 years old, and a student at St. Joan of Arc in Hershey. The girl was not doing well in math, and was sent to Sperber to tutor her.
While meeting with Sperber, he rubbed her hand, had her remove her shirt and fondled her breasts. When her back was to him, he touched her with things believed to be his finger or penis, and she believed he ejaculated on her back. According to the report, “she remembered having to sit all day at school with the stickiness of something on her back.”
When the new school year began, and she didn’t improve her math, she was sent to Sperber again. The victim told the principal that he touched her in weird ways. The principal became angry, scolded the child and said “How dare you make these terrible accusations? You are a demon-child.”
When the victim tried to talk to her mother, she replied, “We’re not going to talk about this. I don’t want anyone thinking that this was our fault.”
The attorney general's report comes after years of state and local law enforcement uncovering cases of sexual abuse within the Catholic church. Nate Chute, IndyStar

Multiple accounts of getting victims pregnant

Throughout the report, there are at least three instances of priests fathering a child with a victim.
  • Rev. Salvatore Zangari admitted in 1986 while at St. Luke Institute for evaluation after multiple allegations, Zangari told officials that he was “literally married” for eight or nine years and had fathered a child.
  • On Aug. 29, 1988, Bishop James Timlin received a letter from the sister of a high school girl who said Rev. Robert J. Brague had sexual relations with her 17-year-old sister, who became pregnant. Timlin responded days later with a letter saying Brague was removed from office, and to keep things under wraps to not cause further scandal. “What has happened is their responsibility.”
  • In 1964, 1965 and 1966, the Diocese of Scranton received letters that Father Joseph D. Flannery had affairs with women, dated a young girl and got her pregnant. The letters were received from a member of the clergy, a parishioner and the mother of the young girl. Nothing was found in the file reflecting an investigation or questioning the priest.

Sex for pay

An allegation was made in 1991 that Father James Armstrong of the Diocese of Pittsburgh gave homeless boys from Pittsburgh drugs, alcohol and money in exchange for sex.
One victim reported he was abused by multiple priests in the course of his life.
The man said that his father was a heroin addict, and his mother a prostitute, and ran away from home at about 14 or 15. In the winter of 1985-1986, the victim said Armstrong would drive him and a “hustler” to a back road and had them do “various violent sex acts like calling him degrading things while he gave them oral sex.” This lasted for a couple of years.

Priest abuse in Pa. 

Read more coverage of Catholic priest and clergy abuse in Pennsylvania: 

Statewide grand jury report released in August 2018
Harrisburg diocese

July 7, 2018

Landlords Are Offering Rooms For Sex Taking Advantage of These Men and The Rent Boom

                      Denholm Spurr, in South London     [Laura Gallant / BuzzFeed]

BuzzFeed News has uncovered dozens of ads on Facebook and other sites that reveal a new LGBT dimension to the housing crisis: young men lured into "sex for rent" contracts to avoid sleeping rough. In a multi-part investigation, we expose the truth about these landlords, as young men speak out about being raped, beaten, drugged, infected with HIV and treated as domestic slaves.
Patrick Strudwick

It took just three months for Denholm Spurr’s life to plummet, for the newly graduated straight-A student to find himself exchanging sex for somewhere to live. He did not know what he would lose, that what awaited him was a succession of men who would drug and abuse him, that he would be infected with HIV, and, on several occasions, raped.

Sometimes the men – some of the landlords – had no need to use force. “I didn’t have the strength to say no,” he said. “I became what I felt people wanted. I branded myself as this ‘sexual being’ that other people fed off… I felt that’s what I needed to do.”

Spurr’s eyes flickered as he cast his mind back over everything. “The last five years of my life would have been extremely different had I just had somewhere to stay.”

He wants people to know what happens when young men so desperate to avoid sleeping on the streets will do anything for shelter – and what lies in wait. He wants to raise the alarm.

In a multipart investigation, BuzzFeed News exposes a dimension to the housing crisis that has so far been concealed: men having to exchange sex for a place to stay.

Over the last few months, numerous stories have highlighted how landlords are exploiting young women unable to afford accommodation by offering them “sex-for-rent” arrangements. But the reports, including an entire BBC documentary, have omitted a demographic: gay men, lured into these arrangements, sometimes for different reasons, often with devastating consequences.

Today, in the first installment of this series, we uncover some of the damage done to these young men – the sexual violence – by landlords and reveal how they are being enabled by two major internet companies, one of which is Facebook. The world’s largest social media platform, BuzzFeed News can reveal, is hosting explicit posts from landlords promising housing in return for gay sex.

In multiple interviews with the men exchanging sex for rent and groups trying to deal with the crisis, BuzzFeed News also uncovered a spectrum of experiences that go far beyond what has so far been documented, with social media, hook-up apps, and chemsex parties facilitating everything.

At best, impoverished young men are seeking refuge in places where they are at risk of sexual exploitation. At worst, teenagers are being kept in domestic prisons where all personal boundaries are breached, where their lives are in danger.

The investigation began in early February, replying to the landlords' adverts – the surface. Within days, it swerved into strange and unexpected quarters. By the end, it led to the darkest of places: young men raped, strangled, enslaved, and hospitalized – one with knife wounds to the neck.

The head of a major homelessness charity described the irony that underpins the gay sex-for-rent phenomenon: Vulnerable young men enter into these agreements thinking the street would be the most dangerous place to sleep, or that traditional sex work would be the most perilous.

They are wrong.

The Facebook group is called “Gay Houseboy’s and those who hire them” and describes itself as a “group for gay men seeking gay boys to work for them as houseboys, and for gay houseboys seeking employment”. Despite adding “No nude pics" and "no 'hookup' posts” its members post adverts enticing young men to exchange sex for a place to stay.

BuzzFeed News discovered the group last month as concerns peaked over Facebook’s handling of the data breaches of millions of users and as Mark Zuckerberg, its founder, and CEO told Congress his company “didn’t do enough” to prevent it.

Facebook / BuzzFeed
Zuckerberg also took credit, in his prepared statement, for the #MeToo anti-sexual violence movement, as it was “organized, at least in part, on Facebook”. He did so while his site continued to provide a platform – as it has done for the last four years – for landlords who detail the kind of sex and men they require as payment for the accommodation they are offering.

In British law, inciting someone into sex work is a crime, according to the Sexual Offences Act 2003, whether you pay them with money or with goods or services such as accommodation. As such, last year the then-justice secretary David Lidington said: “an offense is committed when a person offers accommodation in return for sex”.


 The posts and the group itself operate under one of several disguises that conceal gay sex-for-rent arrangements, keeping such setups hidden from those who should be looking. In this instance, the disguise is simply a word: houseboy.
For many, particularly outside the West, houseboy simply means male domestic worker: cleaning, cooking. Among many gay men, however, there is another assumption, expected duty: sex. But unlike some adverts on mainstream websites that rely on innuendo, most on Facebook are explicit in the terms of the agreement: gay sex in return for accommodation.

“Looking for a white male 18-25 to come and join our household for a life in position,” reads one post on the Facebook group. “General duties will include cleaning, walking the dog, shopping, cooking and general house projects… This position would ideally include sex and lots of affection from our boy.”

Another is simply a photograph of a young naked man, with his penis exposed, standing by a Christmas tree with the words: “ISO [in search of] True HouseBoy 18-25 White Slim Clean.”   

“Live in the heart of Hollywood” is the promise in a further post, from a landlord seeking a “houseboy/personal assistant”. The landlord boasts, “My company deals with a lot of high profile clientele”, asks that respondents send photographs, and specifies, “Prefer young (but legal age) and very uninhibited types. Boy-next-door but with a wild side.”

Others insist on respondents replying with “face and body photos”, or have strict age limits, seek houseboys “with benefits”, or are suggestive of controlling dynamics. “Married couple here 40 and 46 seeking our forever boy for total and complete ownership,” says one.

Young gay men in the group posted on its page, too, asking for live-in positions. One 24-year-old wanting somewhere to stay says he is ”willing to [go] where ever I’m needed”, explaining that although he is from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, he has “nowhere to go down there anymore”.

Another member of the group told BuzzFeed News by private message that he has only once been a houseboy but said that the landlords “tend to assume that every houseboy is a whore… I was the opposite. I just wanted stability.” People he knows who have also taken up houseboy positions “have been kicked out…it’s really not a safe way to live…the men really think they own you.”

Not all young men are so concerned. Another houseboy replied to a private message suggesting that there can be two-way enjoyment to the arrangement, which it would seem for some fulfills a master/slave fantasy. “It really just depends on luck,” he said, “finding the right person who would take you in and basically just use you as a sex toy… I was in underwear all day doing laundry and house chores.” When his landlord returned home he would “use me as he pleased”.

The group administrator also replied. He said he has worked as a chef for a gay couple with a houseboy who “slept with them” along with a range of domestic chores. In general, he said, “the employer is usually searching for one of three things.” Among these is “a person that does the housework, is a companion and engages in physical interaction”. Another is a “couple looking for triads [threesomes]”. He added, “Most of the applicants have no prior experience but are willing to do anything to be kept.”

Despite the explicit nature of the postings on the group’s site, the administrator told BuzzFeed News that Facebook has not intervened. “We have never had an incident from Facebook,” he said. “If they [members] want to post something that will not fly with Facebook I write them and tell them what needs to be changed.”

This has not stopped explicit notices being posted.

When approached by BuzzFeed News to respond to issues relating to this group, Facebook initially replied promising that a representative would comment. That response, however, did not materialize, despite several attempts by BuzzFeed News, over several days, to invite Facebook to do so. A week after first contacting the social media company, the group remains on its site.

Meanwhile, online adverts for gay sex-for-rent arrangements proliferate in other mainstream websites – either unnoticed or misunderstood by the companies hosting them. BuzzFeed News found dozens on Craigslist's UK site and one on Room Buddies within just two months.

During this time, Craigslist in the US removed its entire personal classified ads, after Congress passed a new law against sex trafficking ads, but its UK ads, among which all the following were found, remain.

Some use the word “houseboy”; others specify their requirements in graphic terms, while others are more opaque. Craigslist removed only a portion of the most overt ads, but not before BuzzFeed News was able to respond to them. Craiglist did not respond when approached by BuzzFeed News for comment about the adverts.

This one, for example, wasn't taken down for several days:

“Looking for slim houseboy for a live-in position in South-East London (very near tube). You will clean and provide sexual services in return for free accommodation and board… I’m a mature (mid-sixties) white English male…”

Other adverts use more coded language or terms, some offer reduced rent or suggesting that it is “negotiable” based on “mutual understanding”, or if you can come to an “agreement”. Further subtle terms refer implicitly to a sexual dimension: “open-minded”, “relaxed” – or less implicit: “exhibitionist”, “naturist”. Most demand a photo.

This advert offers a room for £70 a week – about half the going rate: “Looking for someone under 35 or so. Open minded, easy going. Preference for gay/bi….Please reply back with a clear recent photo.” Another, which is still on the site, makes no mention of sex but the rent is zero “in exchange for assistance with a variety of tasks”. The landlord seeks a “fit young gay male up to about age 25”.

Some landlords entice not only gay men but also bisexual or straight men. This ad is entitled “£10 room/bed share for bi/naturist male” in Whitechapel, east London: “Open-minded bi male naturist in early 30s, looking for a well-hung bi or bi-curious naturist/nudist male or even a straight guy who would be open to experimenting and doing sexual favours in exchange for renting in my flat… I will be holding couch interviews next week.”  

Other landlords offer deals in which only a fraction of the rent is reduced in exchange for very specific sexual demands. One advert explained that the room had previously gone for £600 a month but was now only £400. But in return, the successful applicant “must be ok with receiving anal… a few times a week” and must be “bi or str8” or a “really masculine gay person”. He also expects the respondent to not be skinny and to be “disease free”. This would be “tested” to ensure it.

BuzzFeed News replied to several – posing as a young gay man needing accommodation – particularly to the less explicit adverts.

“Free lodging” offered in one advert in the Brighton area, suitable for a “gay male student….wanting a supportive safe home”, for example, made no mention of sex. But following a request for further details, the “supportive safe home” turned out, in the landlord’s email reply, to mean: “you letting me suck you off and enjoy your nipples and armpits”. This advert remains on Craigslist.

Another Craigslist advert appears entirely benevolent, even caring, offering a “sofa for the cold nights” for “any guys that are homeless and need a place for a couple of nights”. It adds, “Come get showered and warm and get a good nights sleep.” The mention of showering and specifying men prompted BuzzFeed News to respond, asking what he expects in return. “Nothing,” the landlord replied. “Just looking to help people out.” But then he sent another email: “You got a picture of yourself?”

Another landlord telephoned after BuzzFeed News asked for more details. The advert on Craigslist was clear. He wanted a man “willing to serve for accommodation… Full details can be given if you leave a phone number.”

His voice was raspy – so gravelly that at times it cut out over the phone. What he said – what he wanted – however, was clear: “sucking, fucking and role play”, as well as a “bit of bondage”. He wanted this to happen regularly. He liked wrist and ankle restraints, too.

But it wasn’t only sex. “You’d be sharing my bed,” he explained. “I would expect you to keep the house tidy.”

He lives in Basingstoke, a commuter town 50 miles from London, is an HGV driver and “slightly heavier than I should be”. He explained why he advertised: “I just want to stop having to go online all the time for sex," and said he has “a huge sportswear fetish,” before asserting: “I take it you obviously like cum”. He suggested a visit.

Instead, BuzzFeed News responded to an advert on RoomBuddies, an extensive mainstream site carrying classified roomshare ads, offering a room to a young gay man: “No rent is expected if we can agree with an arrangement.” (When approached for comment RoomBuddies told BuzzFeed News: "We rely on the support of our customers as we like other individuals can miss things. Should the user and or advert be reported we could deal with the user appropriately.")

This landlord replied by email saying he was “open-minded” and “naturist” but “not into silly sub-dom [sadomasochism] games”. He expected help around the house but did not explicitly say he expected sex – it appeared to be implied. BuzzFeed News arranged to visit him at his flat in south London. Rent in a flat-share like this would normally be approximately £600 per month.

He opened the door. Short, Northern, and 70, with grey, thinning hair, he led the way first into the dark, somewhat shabby room he was offering – a sofa-bed awaited – before walking through a kitchen and out into an unkempt garden. Rats were burrowing under the greenhouse, he explained.

As well as the chores, he wanted someone with whom to play board games or go to concerts. But when asked about his penchant for naturism, as expressed in his email, he dismissed it as merely something that “seems to get mentioned in a lot of ads, but it’s not a requirement”. Regarding what would be expected beyond the chores he simply restated his dislike of sadomasochism but specified only that he was “easy going” regarding sex and liked “normal relationships”.

It was unclear whether he genuinely did not expect sex from a lodger or whether he was shy or simply hoped it would happen organically, without demanding it upfront.

All of which raised two questions: What happens to someone who moves into a place where no rent is required but where what is really expected remains unsaid? And is that better or worse than an arrangement in which the terms – the kind of sex, the frequency – is explicit?

The answer was provided a few days later by a young man who wishes he didn’t know. Denholm Spurr sits at a kitchen table in Brixton, south London, tapping his fingernails against the cup next to him. He makes sudden gestures and movements – getting up, looking away – as if gripped by energy surges. His accent is middle-class Home Counties, almost plummy; not perhaps what you might expect.

Soon after finishing his drama degree, aged 22, he came out. The stress gestating in preparation to it, coupled with the response – his parents, he felt, did not react well – led to a breakdown. He had no money; he had debts from the university.

“I didn’t feel I could go home and it just snowballed from there,” he says. “I went out one night and the first guy that showed me interest I went home with.” With nowhere else to go he stayed with this man for several weeks.

“I was really vulnerable,” says Spurr. “I didn’t have the capacity to make decisions that were in my own interest.” The man would buy him drugs and take him to chemsex parties – group sex mostly fuelled by the class-A drugs crystal methamphetamine (meth), GHB/GBL (G) and mephedrone, all of which can drastically reduce inhibitions.

“I’d lived a very sheltered, conservative life,” he says. But suddenly he was thrown into the extremities of sex and drugs, amid poor mental health and depleted self-worth. “I lost two stone in that two months. I went down to a 27-inch waist. I felt ill.”

The relationship broke down and he moved into a female friend’s house temporarily. But it was here, a month later, that the first consequence of sex-for-rent surfaced.

“I got HIV,” he says. “I went for my first test after coming out and got gonorrhea and HIV. I think I would have recovered from that whole period of my life if that had not happened.”

Instead, Spurr embarked on what would become three years of sex-for-rent arrangements, mostly temporary, hopping from one to the next.

It is here that the second disguise that conceals this arena appears: In many cases among LGBT people, such arrangements are not advertised, not traceable, often not even verbally expressed, but the terms of which are understood by those involved – and can be as fleeting as an arrangement for a few days, one night, or even just a few hours. Apps like Grindr are the primary tool used, connecting those in need with those enticing them.  And so, having already been introduced to the chemsex scene where parties (dubbed “chillouts”) in private houses can stretch for several days and where participants can stay for the duration as long as they continue to have sex or take drugs, Spurr sought them out. “I would just go from one to the next because I thought if I leave I’ve got nowhere to go,” he says.

The requirement of intoxication rendered him unable to defend himself.

“There were times,” he says, “I went under [lost consciousness] on G and then I woke up and someone was fucking me.” He had specifically told some of those people earlier that he was not interested in them. How does he view those incidents now?

He pauses for a moment and replies flatly. “Rape.”

This was amid a whole range of sexual acts he submitted to but did not want. “I just didn’t care,” he says. “The problem was my level of caring about myself was at the lowest point possible. I had had suicidal thoughts.”

Chemsex parties, however, were just one of the situations in which Spurr provided sex to escape rough sleeping. Often, if he needed somewhere just for the night, especially at short notice, Spurr would use Grindr, assured of the fact that he could find a man nearby whose bed he could sleep in. But it meant that the choice of whether to have sex was removed.

Other times, he would go to gay saunas – sometimes staying for three, even four days – one of which had free entry for under-25s on a Monday night. Was it safer? “In theory,” he says, before segueing quickly to the realities of staying in someone’s house for several weeks when you don’t pay rent. There were, he says, occasions where people expected nothing. But mostly – he says about 75% of the time – he had to comply sexually.

“There’s a kind of underlying pressure,” he says, when the terms of the arrangement were not made clear, “that makes it much more complicated and more difficult… It becomes blurred.”

One man with whom he stayed mistook Spurr’s unresponsiveness with eagerness. “I would pretend to be asleep when he initiated [sex] but he would think that’s because I wanted to be dominated,” says Spurr. With that landlord as with others, he says, “I felt more worried about upsetting them than I did my own self-respect.” There was another reason not to say no: he could be thrown out.

Even, therefore, when this man offered Spurr the sofa rather than sharing his bed, Spurr would not take up the offer. “I would feel like I should sleep [in his bed]… I became what I felt people wanted.”  In the evenings, Spurr would begin to sense that the man he was staying with wanted sex. “All of a sudden they’re really close to you, in your personal space. There may be times when they say, ‘Do you want this?' And you’ll be like, ‘Yeah?’ And it’s very difficult because they have asked the question and you have said yes.” Consent evaporates.

For Spurr, the more unspoken the expectations are, the tougher the experience is – and the greater the fear of displeasing the landlord. He talks about a man who responded to his plea on Facebook for somewhere to stay. The man let him stay for £240 a month – less than half a typical London rent. The landlord said nothing about sex making up the rest. Instead, he “put notes under my door every day, messaging me on Grindr and Facebook. It was always, ‘I really care about you, I want to look after you.’ It was very full-on.”

But after three months, Spurr’s housing benefit still hadn’t arrived to pay him. “I felt a sudden pressure. I think he felt that was an opportunity…to go in for the kill. All of a sudden he was like, ‘I need to advertise your room unless things change.’”

Spurr felt it was clear what he meant and, concerned by the emotional intensity of the endless messages, he said that he would move out in a week’s time. “I went out that night, I got back and the locks had been changed. All my stuff had been bagged up… This was someone who had looked me in the eye and said, ‘I would never make you homeless.’”

Spurr went to his local council hoping he might eventually secure a council flat. But instead, not qualifying for housing as a single, childless man – a common barrier for gay men – he was put in a homeless shelter.

“I was the only one that was gay,” he says. “I didn’t feel I could be open about that.” Instead, he started using Grindr to secure straightforward sex work to bolster his benefits. He received £70 per week on Jobseeker's Allowance, £15 of which had to go to the shelter, leaving £55 on which to buy everything.

Conventional sex work became his salvation. After the first time selling sex for money rather than rent, he says, “I thought, Wow I actually feel quite happy because I have this money that I can do what I want with.”

In hindsight, he says, “it would have been a better choice” all along to exchange sex for money than for shelter, but that he had thought that “somehow escorting was the lowest of the low.” Through escorting Spurr paid off his debts and eventually secured a place in a shared rented house, where we now sit, two years on.

The entire experience has left lasting damage. He has flashbacks walking down the street – he’ll see a house and suddenly remember having stayed there. He stopped enjoying sex. It took him years to see himself as anything other than a commodity.

None of his experiences, he says, would have sunk so low for so long without the initial hostility he experienced towards his sexuality, which he had internalized.

“When I came out, all I had to go on was that gay was dirty,” he says. “That was the catalyst.”

Since finding somewhere stable to live and leaving escorting, Spurr has developed a career as an actor, appearing in several successful theatre productions. He seems hopeful. But just before saying goodbye, he says something that only later, as more and more people agree to speak, resonates fully: His experiences are not uncommon. In fact, compared to many, he was lucky.


Following the publication of this story, a representative from Facebook contacted BuzzFeed News to say that the organisation has spent "a long time looking into this" and that as a result of the issues raised by BuzzFeed News regarding the houseboys group "the page has now been removed" as it was found to violate Facebook's standards.

A representative from RoomBuddies also said in a statement after publication:

"RoomBuddies takes this issue very seriously and unfortunately we have seen adverts of this nature on occasion. Our moderation team is trained to spot adverts like this and remove them. We also have systems in place to allow our users to report adverts and messages, which we deal with promptly. And we have a messaging platform which we encourage our users to use, so we can help keep them safe online. Our team does their best to police our website, just as Facebook and other websites do. However, we are limited by the anonymous nature of the Internet. This opens up a much bigger discussion on online identity and privacy, especially with the imminent GDPR changes.”

This is Part One of a BuzzFeed News investigation.

May 26, 2018

George Takei' Accuser Retracts Story_Not Everything That Shines is Real

 Last November, a man named Scott R. Brunton accused George Takei of groping him without consent back in 1981. The men were friends at the time, and Brunton says after having a few drinks at Takei’s home he passed out briefly and woke up to Takei undressing him. “He had my pants down around my ankles and he was groping my crotch and trying to get my underwear off and feeling me up at the same time, trying to get his hands down my underwear,” Brunton told The Hollywood Reporter, adding that he then told Takei to stop — which Takei did — put his pants back on, and drove home. In a subsequent interview with theOregonian, Brunton also said, “I know unequivocally he spiked my drink.”
Image result for george takei and ccuser
 Scott R. Brunton accuser
In a new article from The Observer, however, Takei’s accuser is walking back parts of his story, which reporter Shane Snow points out has changed at various points since first Brunson’s first accusations in THR. When asked directly by The Observer if Takei actually touched his genitals in 1981 without consent, Brunton responded could not actually confirm the groping took place. 
I asked him to clarify the issue. “Did he touch your genitals?”
“You know … probably …” Brunton replied after some hesitation. “He was clearly on his way to … to … to going somewhere.”
We shared a pause.
“So … you don’t remember him touching your genitals?”
Brunton confessed that he did not remember any touching.
In addition to cataloguing the various times Brunton has changed the details of his encounter with Takei, including what state of undress the actor was in when he was allegedly removing Brunton’s pants, Snow consults various sources about the effects of date-rape drugs, and whether or not Brunton would have been capable of moving, operating a vehicle, and remembering the night had he been under the influence of substances like Rohypnol or quaaludes. The conclusion from various toxicologists was that it was highly unlikely Brunton was dosed with a date-rape drug and able to function as he described. When this information was brought to Brunton, Snow notes he seemed less than “unequivocally” convinced he had been drugged by Takei that night.
I shared the toxicologists’ observations with Brunton, who admitted that this made him feel better. He was probably right all those years when he thought he was just drunk. He would still never know for sure, but, Brunton said, referring to Takei, “it makes him a little less sinister.”
Burton still feels he was taken advantage of that night by someone he considered a friend. He does not think of Takei as “a criminal or an abuser,” and wants an apology from the actor “for taking advantage of our friendship.” Takei has maintained there was no wrongdoing, saying in his initial denial that, “Those that know me understand that nonconsensual acts are so antithetical to my values and my practices, the very idea that someone would accuse me of this is quite personally painful.”
Update, May 26: In a series of tweets, Takei expressed gratitude that Burton admitted to falsifying parts of his story. “As many of you know, this has been a very difficult period for myself and my husband Brad as we have dealt with the impact of these accusations, but we are happy to see that this nightmare is finally drawing to a close,” he wrote. “As I stated before, I do not remember Mr. Brunton or any of the events he described from forty years ago, but I do understand that this was part of a very important national conversation that we as a society must have, painful as it might be. It is in that spirit that I want folks to know, despite what he has put us through, I do not bear Mr. Brunton any ill will, and I wish him peace. Brad and I are especially grateful for the many fans who stood by me throughout this ordeal. Your 

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