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Priest Tapes Boy In Bubblewrap Then Locks Him In Closet

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  • At least he’s safe to be shipped now?



Photo by Shalone Cason on Unsplash
Photo by Shalone Cason on Unsplash

 

When you see a priest walk into jail, you might think: ‘oh. They’re just going to pray with one of the prisoners,’ right? Wrong! This one is doing time for wrapping a teen in bubble wrap.

Allegan, Michigan

Brain Stanley pleaded guilty to attempted false imprisonment. He was charged in August 2013. Stanley was accused of wrapping a boy in bubble wrap and tape in a janitor’s room at St. Margaret Church. The boy’s eyes and mouth were covered while he was left alone for an hour, according to the attorney general’s office. Stanley was supposed to be counseling him. “Mr. Stanley took advantage of a vulnerable victim and today he is being held accountable,” said Attorney General Dana Nessel.

Not The First Of Stanley’s Red Flags

Stanley did not speak in court but expressed regret over his actions, defense attorney Michael Hills. “After this incident in 2013, he was in treatment. After treatment, I think he realized perhaps he was projecting trauma that he had suffered in his life onto others,” said Hill.

Some Are Saying That It Was ‘Sexually Motivated’

“There’s a big dispute about that. There is no evidence about it. I objected to Father Stanley being placed on the registry, although under the statute it’s required regardless of whether criminal sexual conduct is alleged,” Hill said. The attorney’s office claimed that Stanley’s conduct was sexually motivated, and he will be placed in the public registry for 15 years. The case against Stanley began when investigators looked at documents held by the Catholic Diocese in Kalamazoo. The diocese said that twice there were allegations filed with police against Stanley in 2013 and 2017, but there were no charges filed. “We continue to review information seized from all seven Michigan diocese in 2018, and we will thoroughly evaluate accusations and complaints brought forth by victims,” said Nessel.

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Dog Delivers Groceries, Joins Gig Economy

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  • Eros the chocolate lab lives in a hilly neighborhood in Medellin, Columbia with the Botero family.
  • He remembers customers who give him treats by name and where they live.

The gig economy promised hourly workers a lot of freedom traditional employment denies them. You can set your own schedule, work when you want, and get rewarded for hustle in a way an hourly wage won’t do. But in actuality, you’re denied unemployment benefits, carry a more substantial tax burden, fight an over-saturated workforce for jobs, and depend on unpredictable tips from demanding customers. Still, billion-dollar companies like Uber, Lyft, and Instacart attract the unemployed with few other options. And now, an untapped labor force is getting into the game; dogs. 

A Dog Who Remembers

Eros, an old chocolate lab living in Medellin, Columbia, saw an opportunity during the pandemic to help his neighbors and make a few extra milk bones. He takes grocery deliveries from El Porvenir grocery market in a woven basket to houses in the neighborhood. He’s learned which houses reward him with extra treats, and the names of the residents. 

 

The Botero family opened El Porvenir four years ago but begrudgingly adopted Eros years earlier. One of the Botero children begged for a dog for years, leading to the adoption. He got his start in grocery delivery by accompanying the Botero children as they made the grocery deliveries pre-COVID. Maria Natividad Botero described him to the Associated Press, “He’s quite a glutton. He won’t leave your house until you give him a treat.” 

 

At least Eros can advocate for himself as a gig employee. Working through an app, you can’t tell if someone has tipped you until the job’s complete. The days of standing and prompting a tip with a cough are long past–not just because coughing is now a cause for high-alarm in any social situation. 

 

Now Eros is helping the neighborhood maintain social distancing while getting fresh produce and groceries. According to the CDC, a few dogs and cats worldwide have contracted COVID-19, but seem at low risk of passing the virus on to other humans. So the chocolate lab with his little basket is an ideal solution to neighborhood grocery deliveries.    

Something to Feel Good About

It’s almost a sport, finding things to be optimistic about these days. And the good news is smaller and quieter. Botero found a way to spread a little joy to her neighbors, “People love it when we send the dog.”

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Dutch Cops Arrest Six After Discovery Of Horrifying Torture Chamber

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  • We all would’ve been better off without this particular horror story coming to life

We’ve covered events that resembled famous movie scenes before. This is one more of those, but this time the genre has switched to horror.

On July 7, Dutch police officers raiding a criminal gang’s hideout made a bloodcurdling discovery. The gang had constructed a torture chamber that could just as well have been a set for one of the ultraviolent Saw films.

The police discovered seven shipping containers in a warehouse used by the gang in the town of Wouwse Plantage in southern Netherlands. The criminals had converted six of the containers into makeshift prison cells, according to the Dutch Public Prosecution Service.

Each container’s walls were lined with heat-insulating foil and sound-proof plates to muffle the intended victims’ screams. Metal handcuffs had been attached to the walls, floor and ceiling, and a single chemical toilet was the only furnishing.

The gang had fitted the containers with cameras to keep an eye on their would-be prisoners. Additionally, sets of police clothing, bulletproof vests and flashlights laid on the floor of one of the containers.

The Heart of Darkness

But the true horror of the gang’s intentions became clear only when the police entered the seventh container.

In it, they found a dental chair with handcuffs and straps to keep the victim’s limbs in place. In addition to the chair, the container held a sickening collection of implements of torture.

“The police found pruning shears, loppers, branch saws, scalpels, pliers, extra handcuffs, finger cuffs, tape, balaclavas and black cotton bags that could be pulled over the victim’s head,” the Public Prosecution Service said in a statement.

“The objects were presumably intended to torture or at least put pressure on victims.”

Adjacent to the torture chamber, the gang had built a sitting and sleeping area. The police suspect its purpose was to allow guards and torturers to stay in the warehouse longer and reduce suspicious traffic.

The warehouse also housed a weapons cache, with seven small firearms and a Chinese variant of the Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle. In investigations related to the torture chamber, the police found 17 more firearms and more than 50 pounds of the drug MDMA.

Six people have been arrested over the discovery of the torture chamber. Their impressively long list of suspected crimes includes “preparation for kidnapping, taking hostages, serious abuse and extortion, participation in a criminal organization, and possessions of illegal weapons”.

Covering Two Bases

The Dutch police got onto the gang’s tracks in April, when they arrested a 40-year-old man from The Hague. The man was involved in drug trafficking, and investigations into his finances revealed that he used a warehouse in Wouwse Plantage.

The police immediately put the warehouse they had found out about under surveillance. Since mid-April, they observed men working on the seven cargo containers on a nearly daily basis.

They also found out about a second warehouse the gang was using near the city of Rotterdam. Several of the people spotted in Wouwse Plantage were also seen there.

“The second warehouse seemed to serve as the base for the criminal abduction team, housing fast cars, weapons and bullet-proof vests,” said the Prosecution Service.

Hacking the Communications

In a separate investigation, the police got access to the encrypted chat network EncroChat. The police intercepted the gang’s messages and at times they could even follow their conversations as they happened.

You can only imagine the cops’ reactions when they read the disturbing messages.

The gang members sent each other pictures of the “treatment room” they were constructing. They talked about kidnapping and torture, and the intricately planned plot to carry out the abductions.

“If I have him on the chair, more will come,” one message read. We probably really don’t want to know what that “more” is.

However, with their meticulous planning the criminals’ ended up sabotaging their own plot. Through the messages the police were able to deduce the identities of the gang’s intended victims.

“They were warned by the police and went into hiding. As a result, and thanks to continuous CCTV surveillance in and near the warehouse, the prepared kidnappings, hostage-taking and other serious violent crimes were prevented,” the Prosecution Service said.

A Criminal Network

The EncroChat service that became a crucial source of evidence and clues in the case is a now-defunct communication network. It operated out of France and at its height had an estimated 60,000 users, according to the BBC.

Accessed through customized Android phones, the system offered encrypted communications with the messages set to self-destruct after being read. It also had a “panic button” that would wipe all data on the user’s device.

Gee, it almost sounds like the thing was tailor-made for shady activities. Wonder why it got shut down.

An international team cracked the system’s encryption in April, said the Independent. The security breach gave law enforcement officials a chance to take peek inside the network.

Surprise, surprise – the cops found out that the secretive messaging service was used by criminals the world round. Matt Horne, deputy director of the UK National Crime Agency, said the “Encrophones” had become a “requirement” in organized crime.

Since the police got access to the network in April, they have made 746 arrests in the UK alone. In addition, they have seized more than $68 million in cash, 77 firearms, 1,800 rounds of ammunition, and more than two metric tons of various drugs.

Now they can add a fully-equipped torture chamber to that list. We can all breathe a sigh of relief that they caught it before it was ever used.

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‘Challenging’ Rescue Operation For Horse Stuck In Mud

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  • It’s said that art imitates reality, but in this case it’s the other way around

Have you ever seen The NeverEnding Story? If you have, then you will remember the horse in the swamp scene. It’s one of the most heartbreaking moments in film history and seeing it as a child scarred many of us for life.

An incident very reminiscent of the infamous clip played out near Bognor Regis on the southern coast of the UK. Only this time, the horse had a happy ending.

On the evening of July 29 a white horse named Millie got herself stuck in deep mud. She’s even the same color as Artax, the horse from the movie. It’s just too uncanny.

Around 6 p.m. that night, the West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service got a call for help from Millie’s owner. According to the owner, Millie was stuck shoulder deep in a muddy pond.

Firefighters from the Bognor Regis Fire Station and officers from the service’s Technical Rescue Unit rushed to Millie’s aid.

The TRU Crew Manager Adrian Kirkpatrick said they arrived to a scene that wasn’t quite as dramatic as the one in the movie. Sure, Millie was stuck but she seemed calm and the owner wasn’t wailing.

“We found Millie standing quite calmly in the water, but she was unable to climb back out again as the bank was so muddy, and quite steep,” Kirkpatrick recounted.

The rescuers began the operation by doing the same thing they do whether dealing with people or animals – talking.

“The first and most important action you can take is to try and talk them in to the side without having to go into the water yourself,” said Kirkpatrick.

“But despite all our reassurances, and those from the owner as well, Millie was having none of it and was unable to climb out on her own.”

Time for Action

And so, the rescuers decided it was time to get down and dirty. Two officers from the team, trained in swift water rescue, geared up and got into the water.

Carefully wading waist-deep through the mud, they reached Milly and fitted her with a harness. But even though they tried several tricks to get her moving, the horse wouldn’t budge.

“It became clear quite quickly that she would need to be lifted out as she wasn’t going anywhere under her own steam,” Kirkpatrick said.

He complimented Millie’s owner for deciding for calling the rescue service.

“The owner was right to give us a call to get Millie out of the water, as we would never advise members of the public to attempt a rescue from water – especially when there is a large animal involved.”

With horse- and manpower having failed, the rescuers decided to rely on machinery. They connected the harness wrapped around Millie to a winch attached to one of the rescue service’s off-road vehicles.

“After lining the bank with some thick plastic sheeting so she wasn’t injured as we hauled her out, we pulled her slowly back up onto dry land,” said Kirkpatrick.

Unlike Atrax in the movie, Millie rose from the mud and laid down on the ground beside the pond. But all was not yet well.

Further Complications

Despite her having gotten out of the water, Millie made no effort to get back on her feet. Could it be that she had been injured by the operation?

Luckily, that was not the case. Kirkpatrick explained that not all horses will happily bounce back onto their feet after such an ordeal.

“Their legs can go to sleep if they’ve been in the water for a prolonged period of time, and sometimes the shock of the situation they find themselves in can all just be too much,” he said.

It wasn’t the rescue service’s first time helping out a horse and they knew just what to do. With great care, they rolled Millie over from laying on one side to the other.

“This did the trick,” Kirkpatrick said. “This was the adrenaline rush she needed to get back up again.”

For all their strength, horses can be surprisingly delicate creatures. Especially their legs are prone to various injuries and ailments. So, a lot could have gone wrong during the operation.

“Horse rescues can be incredibly complex, and this one was no exception,” said Kirkpatrick.

“Thankfully, Millie was none the worse for wear for her ordeal, just a little damp and wet from being in the water.”

Cause for Concern

This particular horse rescue ended well, but it’s one more number in a concerning statistic. Incidents with sick or injured horses in West Sussex – and all of the UK – have gone up during the coronavirus pandemic.

Between March and May 2020, West Sussex alone had 32 such cases, reported Spirit FM. While Millie ended up stuck by accident, a lot of the other cases have sadly involved intentionally abandoned horses.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) said that equine welfare charities were already under immense strain. A lot of horses were taken in to different charities some ten years ago due to the 2008 market crash.

Now, with the coronavirus cutting into horse owners profits, cases have increased again. Charities are buckling under the increased number of cases and the financial strain they cause.

Those of our readers wanting to help save UK horses from the impacts of coronavirus can make a donation to the RSPCA.

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