Trinity Mount Ministries

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Trinity Mount Ministries - NCMEC - Active Missing Children Posters / Active AMBER Alerts - UPDATE - 11/23/2020

Missing Children Posters Below



Active AMBER Alerts
NameMissing FromIssued ForAlert Date
Breasia TerrellDavenport, IAIAJul 15, 2020

Notice: The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® certifies the posters on this site only if they contain the NCMEC logo and the 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678) number. All other posters are the responsibility of the agency whose logo appears on the poster.






Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Trinity Mount Ministries - FBI - SEXORTATION



Case Highlights Growing Online Crime with Devastating Real-Life Consequences

The doors were locked, the alarm system was on, and the 13-year-old girl never left her room. But a child predator was able to reach her simply because she was tricked into connecting with him online.

The link between Presley (her name has been changed to protect her identity) and someone she believed was another teenage girl named K.C. started out as a friendly exchange over a popular messaging app. They sent each other occasional messages and pictures of their outfits over a few weeks.

One mildly revealing photo from Presley, however, gave K.C.—who was actually a grown man in Florida named Justin Richard Testani—an opening to begin his threats. He said he would share the photo and spread rumors about her to friends and family if she didn’t do as he asked.

“She let her guard down,” her mother said. “She let her guard down because she thought it was another teenage girl.”

The demands and threats escalated quickly from there. According to FBI investigators, Testani told Presley he would rape and kill her and her loved ones if she didn’t perform the increasingly graphic and extreme acts he demanded over a video call.

Presley had become a victim of sextortion. With the internet allowing predators to hide their identities and easily reach thousands of young people over games and apps, it’s a crime the FBI is seeing in alarming and rising numbers.

To keep Presley from hanging up, the predator used details he’d gathered from their conversations and information she’d posted online to make his threats specific and terrifying. According to Presley’s mother, he told her, “I know where your mom works. If you don’t do what I’m telling you to do, I’ll go kill her.”

He told Presley he knew where she lived. He knew where she went to school. He knew how to get to her friends. “She was convinced it was someone who was standing right outside the door,” Presley’s mother said. “Someone who could get to her immediately.”

Presley was desperate and terrified when she finally reached her mom to ask for help.

Girl Sitting on Bench Holding Cell Phone (Stock Image)

We have several resources to help caregivers and young people understand what sextortion is, how to protect against it, and how to talk about it.

If a young person is being exploited, they are the victim of a crime and should report it. Contact your local FBI field office, call 1-800-CALL-FBI, or report it online at tips.fbi.gov.

Learn more at fbi.gov/sextortion.

Presley’s mother said her daughter called at her first opportunity to break the phone connection with the predator. Testani wanted to take over one of her social media accounts so he could use it to contact her friends, giving him the ability to deceive and exploit another group of young girls. But as he took over her existing account, he needed her to create a new one for herself so they would still be connected online.

As she was carrying out that demand, Presley had a chance to call for help. “He told her she had two minutes to get it done,” her mother said. “When they broke that connection, she felt she could call me.”

Presley’s mother and stepfather raced home. And although they were confused about what was happening, they couldn’t mistake the terror in Presley’s voice. Her stepfather reached her first and immediately called the police when he saw what was happening on her phone.

Presley’s bravery in reporting helped investigators find the man who terrorized her. Testani pleaded guilty to child sexual exploitation in February and was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison on August 6, 2020.

Special Agent Kevin Kaufman, who investigated the case for the FBI in Tampa with local law enforcement, said that they identified several other victims across the country—some as young as 10 years old.

The investigation showed that Testani obtained the login information for other victims’ social media accounts, which allowed him to message hundreds of other young people.

The length of Testani’s sentence reflects the number of children he hurt, the extreme nature of his crimes, and the devastating effects this type of sexual violence has on its victims. Presley’s mother said her daughter is still dealing with depression and anxiety, has trouble concentrating in school, and experiences panic attacks.

The fact that Presley never met Testani in person and never even saw his face only amplified her fear. This man who hurt her could be anyone, anywhere. “That’s why she went from a social butterfly to absolutely terrified to leave the house,” her mother said.


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On this episode of Inside the FBI, we're warning kids, teens, and caregivers about an increasingly common online threat called sextortion. Listen


The New Stranger Danger

Kaufman stressed that this case and the many he sees like it are a reminder to children, teens, and those who love and care for them to rethink dated assumptions about where children are safe and at risk.

“Parents—and kids, too—think that if they are home, they are in their safe haven,” Kaufman said. “But these are professional online predators who have perfected their craft. You’re putting them up against 11-, 12-, 13-year-old children. I have seen victims who were straight-A students. I’ve seen victims who were adults, for that matter.”

Presley’s mother hopes that parents and caregivers shift the conversations they’re having with their children. “We teach our children from the time they are old enough to walk about stranger danger,” she said. “We teach them what to do if someone says something to you or touches you in the wrong way, but we don’t teach them about stranger danger online.”

She wants kids and parents both to understand that sextortion can happen so they can recognize it as a crime and can act. Many parents don’t know enough about the current online environment and what their children may be doing.

Kaufman agrees. “Know what these applications can do,” he said. Parents may not know that a texting app also allows their child to video chat with multiple people at once or that their children are getting friend requests from strangers and accepting them without a second thought. “People can portray themselves to be anyone online,” Presley’s mom said. “Know that you know who you’re talking to.”

“We teach our children from the time they are old enough to walk about stranger danger. We teach them what to do if someone says something to you or touches you in the wrong way, but we don’t teach them about stranger danger online.”

Mother of sextortion victim

Additionally, Kaufman warns that many people aren’t aware of easy-to-download applications that let someone record anything online, even without the other person knowing. Any so-called private or “disappearing” interaction can be saved and shared.

Presley’s case, with the perpetrator’s pattern of taking over his victims’ accounts, shows that even if a message is from a friend’s account, there can still be a risk. The best protection against that uncertainty is to avoid doing anything in front of a screen that you wouldn’t be comfortable doing in real life.

“I fear the belief some people—especially kids—have that if it happens behind a screen, it’s not real,” Presley’s mom said. Her family’s experience shows the risks are real, and the possibility of long-term harm is, too.

So what’s the most important thing parents and caregivers can do? Presley herself says that it’s to be available if your kids need help. If your child is afraid of getting in trouble for downloading a forbidden app or breaking another family rule, they may not ask for help if they become a victim of sextortion. This means they’ll suffer alone, and the predator will be free to target another victim.

And Presley also has a message for young people spending time online: “Everything is not always as it seems. It is easy for people to act like someone they are not on the internet. Don’t believe everything you are told. If you are put in one of these situations, one of the most important things to remember is that although they tell you they have all the power, you are the one in control. Don’t be afraid to speak up. You are not alone.”





Thursday, October 22, 2020

Trinity Mount Ministries - NCMEC - Active Missing Children Posters / Active AMBER Alerts - UPDATE - 11/10/2020

             


Missing Children Posters Below


Active AMBER Alerts
NameMissing FromIssued ForAlert Date
Breasia TerrellDavenport, IAIAJul 15, 2020

Notice: The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® certifies the posters on this site only if they contain the NCMEC logo and the 1-800-THE-LOST® (1-800-843-5678) number. All other posters are the responsibility of the agency whose logo appears on the poster.







Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Trinity Mount Ministries - FBI - Suicidal Behavior in Preteens




By Tony Salvatore, M.A.

Police officers frequently have contact with suicidal adolescents and teens. It is far less common for them to become involved with younger children exhibiting suicidal behavior, but this may be changing.

Preteen suicides in the United States are rare but increasing. Suicidal behaviors ranging from ideation to nonfatal attempts also are becoming progressively more common in preadolescents.


If current trends continue, police officers and other first responders can expect to receive a growing number of mental health calls involving suicidal children. They also will have to cope with the aftermath of more suicides by children in coming years.

Suicide prevention training for police officers does not usually cover suicidal behavior and suicides in preteens. Agencies must remedy this. Officers may be among the first to encounter this problem in their communities.

Incidence

It once was widely believed that young children did not take their own lives because they could not grasp the concept of suicide.1 However, in the late 1980s, research showed that suicide claimed a number of victims at an early age and that as many as 12 percent of school-age children experienced suicidal ideation.2

Mr. Salvatore directs suicide prevention and postvention efforts at Montgomery County Emergency Service in Norristown, Pennsylvania.

Even very young children engage in nonfatal suicidal behavior.3 This creates serious suicide risk in childhood that individuals carry into adolescence, young adulthood, and beyond.

Frequency

Early childhood suicidality has made a mark on the health system in the United States. A review of admissions to 31 pediatric hospitals from 2005 to 2015 found almost 15,000 cases of suicidal ideation or suicide attempts by children 5 to 11 years of age.4

Assessments of children ages 10 to 12 presenting to emergency departments in three urban medical centers found 30 percent positive for suicide risk. One in five of the children had made a previous suicide attempt.5 This suggests that emergency departments should screen for suicide risk in all children, even as early as 10 years old.

Although they may have access to only a limited range of lethal means, young children are capable of suicide.6 In 2014, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for the first time listed suicide as the 10th-leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 11.7 It was the ninth-leading cause of violence-related death for children ages 5 to 9 in 2015.8

Between 1993 and 2012, 657 children in the United States ages 5 to 11 years old died by suicide.9 This is an average of 33 child suicides per year.

Young children can develop suicide plans readily within their capability to carry out.10 One study found that 1 in 10 children ages 3 to 7 acknowledged thoughts of suicide, expressed what appeared to be plans, and acted in a manner that looked like an attempt.11

Demographics

Early childhood suicidality is more common in boys and is associated with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), oppositional defiant disorder, and conduct disorder.12

In one study, victims mostly included black male children who died by hanging, strangulation, or suffocation.13 Data on suicides involving children 5 to 11 years old from 1993 to 1997 and from 2008 to 2012 showed a significant increase in suicides of young black children and a notable decline of suicides in white preadolescents between the two periods. This shift has not presented in other age groups. The increase in suicides among black children is a notable departure from the distribution of suicides by race for all ages and particularly for young children.14

Risk Factors and Warning Signs

Suicidal behavior in preschoolers relates to impulsivity, running away, hyperactivity, morbid ideas, high pain tolerance, not crying after injury, and parental neglect.15 A family history of suicidal behavior, exposure to physical and sexual abuse, preoccupation with death, and prior suicide attempts are additional factors to consider.16

Impulsivity is a prominent characteristic of preteen suicides. For children ages 5 to 11, “impulsive responding” to arguments, conflicts, relationship problems with family members and friends, and other adverse environmental and life situations is a trigger for early childhood suicide.17 Children may lack the ability to foresee their lives getting better or to comprehend the temporary nature of some problems.

Notably, mental illness plays a smaller role in suicidal behavior in preadolescents than in older children.18

Misclassification

It can prove difficult to decisively quantify preadolescent suicide because authorities may misclassify young children’s suicides as accidents or otherwise unintentional deaths.19 This represents a particular problem in the black community.20 Preteen suicide victims leave notes less often than teenagers do and have less access to lethal means, such as firearms, which can raise doubts about suicide as the cause of death.21

Misclassification also may result, at least in part, from old beliefs some coroners and medical examiners still share about the suicidal capability of young children. The fact that accidental deaths and unintentional injuries are the leading cause of death in children under age 14 also can influence this judgment.22 Individuals may not readily see preteen deaths by falls and even by hanging as suicides.

Theory

Most models attempting to explain suicide focus on teens, adults, and elders. However, one theoretical paradigm suggests how suicidal behavior may arise in anyone, including young children. The interpersonal-psychological theory explains how overcoming the natural resistance to lethal self-harm can result in a suicide attempt.23

According to this theory, a suicide attempt may occur when two factors exist: 1) an intense desire to die and 2) the capacity for self-harm.24 The former arises from negative self-perceptions, a poor self-image, and unfavorable social comparisons.25 The latter is associated with a high tolerance to pain, diminished fear of severe injury, and lowered fear of death.26 This “acquired capability” becomes established over time through exposure to hurtful, painful, or violent experiences, such as self-injury, physical or sexual abuse, or bullying.27

Circumstances that contribute to suicidality in young children include—

  • decreased self-esteem;
  • belief that they hold responsibility for some family problem (e.g., divorce);
  • feeling worthless or like a burden to the family;
  • not feeling valued;28
  • violent interactions between parents, which may cause children to believe they are worthless and expendable;29
  • bullying and being bullied;30
  • parental abuse and neglect, which may produce self-directed aggression;31
  • having a sibling who attempted suicide;32 and
  • experiencing conflict, aggression, and abuse in the household.33

Suicide threats and attempts relate to antisocial behavior and hostility toward parents in children 5 to 12 years of age.34 Abuse, neglect, or other trauma in the family may produce suicidal behavior in young children. Research shows that witnessing violence promotes suicidal ideation in urban 9- and 10-year-olds.35 Officers called to a household because of domestic violence must keep collateral suicide risk in mind during their investigations.

Bullying can generate an intense desire to die and the development of an acquired capability for lethal self-harm. Both victims and bullies themselves more likely will exhibit suicidal ideation or behavior compared with children not exposed to bullying.36

“Although they may have access to only a limited range of lethal means, young children are capable of suicide.”

Prior suicide attempts, self-injury, and mentally practicing a suicide plan represent other ways an individual may acquire the capability for a lethal attempt.37 Evidence suggests that these behaviors may significantly contribute to suicidality in young children.38

“Suicide competence” comes with making attempts over time.39 Many preadolescent suicide victims engaged in earlier suicidal behavior.40 Repeated tries facilitate future attempts as the individual accrues lethal experience and skill and sheds inhibitions to suicide.

Histories of multiple increasingly lethal suicide attempts are present in prepubertal children.41 Suicidal teens may have histories of past attempts starting as early as age 9.42

One study found self-injury in almost 8 percent of surveyed third graders (average age 7) and 4 percent of sixth graders (average age 11).43 In this age group, more boys than girls self-injured, and hitting oneself proved the most common method.44 Such behaviors reduce the natural inhibition to self-harm and enhance the risk of suicide.

Preadolescents can make basic suicide plans.45 Mentally going over the plan is one way to gain the ability to carry it out.46 This may occur even in very young children. Children can experience persistent suicidal ideation over time.47 This may be how suicidality in the very young progresses from vague thoughts of death to a concrete selection of means.48

Screening

No specific guidelines exist for police officers to use in identifying suicide risk in young children. However, when dealing with young children troubled by suicidal thoughts, officers should assure them that they are safe and not in trouble and that the officers are there to help. They should use terms children can understand and ask age-appropriate questions.

Screening for suicide risk in very young children is only recommended if high risk is evident or strongly suspected.49 Officers can ask general questions, such as “Do things ever get so bad that you think about hurting yourself?” or “Have you ever tried to kill yourself?”50 Suicide risk screening questions do not harm young children and have not been found to induce or intensify suicidality.51

Identifying suicide risk in this age group relies on interviews with the child, parental reporting, and self-reporting by the child.52 A flexible interview using questions that the child can answer is the recommended approach for determining suicide risk in prepubertal children.53 Parents will serve as the best sources in cases with very young children, and talking with them will avoid upsetting a possibly suicidal child.

A suicide risk screener for young children should consist of a few short questions about recent thoughts and behaviors. Police officers may not need to use a formal screener with young children, but looking at an example of such a tool can be helpful.

One set of suicide-screening questions has proven successful with children as young as 10 years of age.54













Friday, October 9, 2020

9 Tips to Ensure Your Child’s Safety

 By Prime Sarmiento



By now, you may already have read or heard about the countless children who are harmed, kidnapped, killed, or those who remain missing to this day. You may have shuddered at the thought that there are people who are really capable of harming innocent children. More often than not, criminals pick their targets at random. Their victims just happened to be at the right place and at the right time — or wrong place at the wrong time. The child may be lounging around in an empty parking lot or was walking all alone.

No matter what you think, child safety is a real issue. There are a number of things you can do to ensure that your child is safe in and out of school. Here are 9 tips which you can impart to your kids:

1. Make him memorize important numbers and addresses

For preschoolers, this is very important. You need to make him memorize your phone number at home and if possible, your home address. This will make it easier for authorities to track you down should he happen to get lost in a mall or in the park.

2. Tell him not go with strangers

Preschoolers should be taught that “strangers” mean those who are not related to him. Tell him that he should only go with mom and dad (or approved family members and friends).

3. Make him understand that the school can be his sanctuary

It’s good if your child rides the school bus. But if you’re the one who picks up your child at school, be firm about telling your child to remain inside the school while you are not yet around.

4. Teach him to observe his surroundings

If your child walks home from school alone, instruct him to observe his surroundings while walking. He may look over his shoulder from time to time or look at parked cars.

5. Get him a whistle

Buy him a whistle that is similar to those being used by cops. Teach your child to blow the whistle repeatedly if a suspicious looking person tries to approach them. This will somehow help in catching the attention of other people. For older kids, you may consider buying them a pepper spray.

6. Teach him self-defense techniques

You may consider giving your child karate lessons. He doesn’t have to become a karate expert; all he needs to know are techniques that could help him get away from potential offenders or criminals. One mother always tells her child to scratch or gouge the eyes of the person who grabs him.

7. Monitor his Internet usage

Criminals such as sex offenders have turned to the Internet to hunt for their next victim. Make sure that you take the time to monitor your child’s Internet usage. Discourage him from giving his personal information (such as his home address, cellphone number, and school) to everybody online. If he has a Facebook account, you should teach him to make his profile private so not everybody can access it.

8. Tell him it’s okay to tell his teacher if he finds something strange in school

Sad to say, even schools are not spared from the reach of criminals. In Denver, a sex offender was suspected photos from a day care center. Instruct your child to go to his teacher immediately if he finds something or someone suspicious.

9. Encourage your child to hang out with friends in your own home

Invite your kid’s friends to your home so you can get to know them better. You can encourage them to hang out in your own home by preparing snacks for them. It will be better if you can reach out to the parents of his friends so you can create a support network.

These tips are not meant to turn your kids into paranoid adults. It’s all about instilling in them the importance of self-preservation. The idea is to make them realize that they also need to look after themselves since you will not be by their side at all times.