icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
How To Deal With A Predator

It's difficult for any organization to find a child predator in their midst. What do you do?

Obviously it happens, we've read about it in the news. It's happened at our temple, too.

Here's how to deal with it:

1 - If you're lucky, in rare cases, the predator will regret what they did and come forward themselves.

At our temple, the man's remorse and confession made finding out very simple. Jetsunma was called immediately when he confessed.

2 - In the case where there isn't a confession, the moment any information about possible abuse comes to light -- suspend the responsibilities of the person in question instantly until you know more, and investigate.

In our circumstance because of his confession, none of this was necessary.

If you don't have a confession and there is a suspected predator, the predator should not be allowed any contact with the child, either alone or in the presence of others. Bear in mind that children will often blame themselves, or be loyal and protect the person abusing them. Because a close tie may have formed, communication can be subtle. You will miss the cues. Do not allow any communication of any kind (including texts) until you've spoken with the child in a safe and secure environment, where they can speak to someone they trust. Remember, strange as this may sound, the child may trust the predator more than those trying to help.

3 - If the investigation proves abuse has occurred (and really, kids don't lie about this), remove the guilty party from any position of authority without delay.

In our situation, since we had a confession there was no need for an investigation. Jetsunma ordered the monk to give back his robes that very day.

4 - Require the person in question to turn themselves over to the police. Do not allow the abuser to be free another minute.

Jetsunma immediately instructed the monk turn himself in to child protective services and the police the day he confessed. He did as instructed. If he hadn't, we were prepared to send the police after him ourselves.

5 - Make a public announcement of what has occurred.

In our case, we did an announcement at all of our centers and on our website. Our communication to the temples and statement of zero tolerance of sexual abuse went out immediately. There was no delay.

The public announcement may be hard to do. It may hurt your church, synagogue, or temple. An ex-con who's been hounding our temple for the last four years, Bill Cassidy, and another stalker, Andrew Wilson, have seized on this man's actions to blame us. Yes, hiding what happened may temporarily protect the reputation of the church, and we have all heard of churches that have done so. But reputation doesn't matter when hiding it would allow the predator to go elsewhere later. The safety of the public comes first.

6 - Begin to rebuild the trust in the community. If the temple or church has been honest, aboveboard, and has taken swift action, confidence can be restored.

Delay breeds uncertainty and confusion. The situation is painful, but decisive action must be taken. We also brought in a professional psychotherapist pro bono to help temple members who felt deeply betrayed by their friend.

Palzang has been sentenced and will likely spend the rest of his life in jail.

Some say that sexual predators can't change. And sexual predators do have a high incidence of recidivism. But all human beings to have the capacity to change: that's what it means to be human.

There's a big difference between animals and humans. A cat's brain only has 300 million neurons and while a cat can think tactically, he can't help but be a predator. Humans however, have 10 billion neurons and a capacity for conscious change. Change is difficult when those neurons have hard-wired into them even little habits like biting your nails. But as you train yourself not to bite your nails, those neurons die out.

I knew the monk Palzang for many years. I often defended him from those who tried to use his past against him (he'd spent seven years in prison for molesting a 16-year-old before he was Buddhist). He spent fifteen years as a monk, and despite his history, I still believe in second chances.

What he did last year makes my blood run cold. He's earned that jail cell, sad to say, and now he will spend the rest of his life in prison.

But one can practice and change in prison. We have a prison program for just that reason.

Ani Rinchen, who runs the prison program, once said, "They're good guys. They've just done terrible things."

There's a kindness to her words, and an ability to separate the person from the crime. You can have compassion for the person, while taking hard decisive action on the crime. Maybe it takes ten billion neurons to be able to make that distinction.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
On the heels of my weekend surveying the cyberstalker's slams against Jetsunma ... wow. I couldn't tell you guys what was going on because the court case was still going on. These guys took full advantage of our silence.

An Open Letter Concerning Mr. Andrew Wilson

In the recent cyberstalking case against Bill Cassidy, the FBI also investigated a man in Oregon named Andrew Wilson.

KPC was surprised to learn of Mr. Wilson's existence from the FBI.

The temple has no idea why Mr. Wilson was harassing Jetsunma on Twitter. Wilson used his Mujushinkyo and Horsesasstulku account (which he identified to his followers as being his) as well as others, to Tweet at Jetsunma directly, then Tweet such things as "I'm coming tulku k-k-k-kill you #tulku."

Many people, including Mr. Wilson (who insists the temple "sent" the FBI after him), seem to not understand how a federal investigation works:

Step one: One brings the case and evidence to the US Attorney.
Step two: The federal government launches its own investigation.

The FBI does not take anyone at their word.

In the FBI's own investigation of Bill Cassidy, they found Andrew Wilson engaged in the same activity. This was the FBI's finding, not the temple's.

To keep the case simple, the FBI determined they would only pursue Cassidy. (I would assume that Cassidy's prior criminal record made it a more compelling case.) However, both men were cyberstalking in a similar manner, which is why both men were investigated, though only Cassidy was arrested.

The case determined that while Cassidy was cyberstalking, Jetsunma is a public figure who should expect cyberstalkers--I mean, free speech (consisting of death threats...).

On a personal note, I'd like to mention I find Wilson's claim the temple has "deep pockets" paranoid and absurd, considering our rather public ongoing financial struggles.

(I now return you to your regular programming.)
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Egad. Hunting around the internet to see the attacks from Bill Cassidy and his buddies on Jetsunma...

...made for a really depressing weekend.

Will be writing fic to recover.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Recently, this "Zen Master" Andrew Wilson threatened my temple with "Shingon Magic."

He removed his "Shingon magic" threat from his blog after I started making fun of it on Twitter. *cough* You see, the temple practices Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhism.

Shingon is the Japanese version of Vajrayana Buddhism.

Shingon Magic

The Seattle Koyasan Buddhist Church is only one of three Shingon centers of this tradition in the United States, begun as a missionary temple (i) in typical Buddhist fashion. Shingon was founded in 804 CE by Kukai (Kobo Daishi) during the classical Heian period in Japan.(ii) Shingon focuses on the Mahavairocana Sutra and the Vajrasekhara Sutra,(iii) brought to Japan from China by Kukai during the T'ang Dynasty, just fifty years before the destruction of Chinese esoteric Buddhism and subsequent rise of Neo-Confucianism under the Song.

According to Seattle Koyasan's priest, Shingon is a "cousin of Tibetan Buddhism."(iv) Although it has had centuries to adapt to Japanese culture, it is also the nearest descendent of the Chinese vajrayana tradition that flourished under the T'ang. It has not enjoyed the same popularity among Americans as Japanese Zen or Tibetan Buddhism. There are few translations of Shingon texts into English, and those that exist are deemed to be of low quality.(v) With services mostly in Japanese, the Seattle Koyasan Buddhist Church is clearly aimed at the American Japanese community.Read more... )

If Wilson knows so little about Shingon "magic", which he claimed to practice ... how likely is he to be a real zen master?
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
I've spoken here in brief about Bill Cassidy and the cyberstalking. Mostly in locked posts because the case was ongoing. (The temple's followed a strict Do Not Feed The Trolls policy for a year.)

The posts are now unlocked.

I came across an article by John Scalzi the other day: The Sort Of Crap I Don't Get. I read the harassment that this food blogger receives. There's a dedicated Twitter feed where people make fun of the shape of her child's head? (Why?) There's vitriolic, ongoing nastiness aimed at her, a knitting blogger--basically at any prominent woman online.

It sounded so familiar. What Jetsunma's gone through, is still going through, has happened to other women. Consistently. Men don't face that kind of ongoing, non-stop blasting. Cassidy's the farthest extreme: he made in-person contact, went beyond trolling to threats, and he has a history of violence towards women (two years in prison for assaulting his ex-wife, and it was pled down from worse). The volume was also extreme: 100-300 abusive Tweets aimed at her a day once he got out of prison.

But there was more.

You see, we were surprised last year when the FBI dragnet went out, arrested Cassidy ... and then arrested some guy in Oregon named Andrew Wilson.


Somewhere along the line we'd picked up a full time troll, the way you pick up gum on your shoe. There was a copycat Cassidy out there. He'd imitated Cassidy's style of vague innuendo, his ugly avatars were designed to startle, much like the graphics on Cassidy's blog, and he also spouted off similar buzzword quasi-Zen with a crude spin (you know, "If a bird shits in the forest, does it make a sound?" stuff). He used a different Twitter account, but Cassidy used so many socks it was a puppet forest; Cassidy was a sockpuppet Hydra.

And Andrew Wilson stalked Jetsunma the exact same way Cassidy did. There were death threats ("I'm coming tulku k-k-k-kill you"), declarations of determination that he would hound her to the ends of the earth, and a huge volume of nasty messages on Twitter.

So the FBI went after both of them. While we scratched our heads.

Now Cassidy makes a kind of con-artist-stalker-wannabe!tulku-wife-beater sense. He served the rest of his assault conviction in prison because Jetsunma's monks and nuns testified against him. You'd expect an ex-con to be pissed. Of course he's going to blame the victim for telling--since when do convicts take personal responsibility for their actions? But Andrew Wilson we'd never met.

Well, you know trolls. There's a certain type of dedicated troll that has to vent their spleen. They pick a cause and funnel all their personal angst at that cause. I read an interview of a fellow who dedicated his life to going after pedophiles, and it seemed noble at first blush. I was all for it. But then he targeted Livejournal Lolita discussion groups, fiction writers who dealt with child abuse, and even forced Livejournal to close support group blogs for victims of child molesters--and he didn't care, no, not one whit about the actual victims of child abuse. Which was strange. His attitude was he'd take "any means necessary," no matter who was caught in the crossfire.

I wish I still had the article. It was nuanced and interesting. By the end, the article's author suggested that the guy was a nut job who'd found a niche to act out. A full-time troll can't admit when he's wrong, or that he's made a mistake, or that he's (very obviously) gone too far.

The way Andrew Wilson tells of his arrest, it came out of the clear blue sky. His death threats and years of cyberstalking had nothing to do with the FBI showing up at his door. So long as his target was "bad," Wilson could justify his own bad behavior, even when his Twitter friends told him he was "stupid" to stalk Jetsunma.

It's heart-wrenchingly sad, the way he tells it, how he panicked when the FBI showed up and barricaded the door with cat trees and furniture (Nota Bene: he gets points from me for the cat--I love cats--and double for the cat tree, minus eleventy billion for being a stalkerish stalking stalker).

However, I have to say that, as a veteran speeder and cop show fan ... doesn't he know that if you see that spinning police light in your rearview mirror, you pull over? You don't start a high speed chase.

Likewise, if the FBI show up at your door, you let them in and offer them tea (or coffee) while you figure out what the heck's going on. Barricading the door makes them think you're Ted Kaczynski (especially if you've been making death threats over the internet). What would have been a tense conversation (and polite refusal of tea) becomes a handcuff handshake--with maybe a boot in your back as you say hello to the floor. Even if you know you're guilty, be smart enough to at least act innocent. (Politeness goes a long way.)

If you're guilty and damned well know it, I imagine keeping a cool head is hard to do. Which is why it's always the guilty who flee and/or barricade the door with cat trees.

That visit from the FBI (who questioned him thoroughly about his contact with an ex-con and kept his computer a year) didn't give Andrew pause for long. Nope. The death Tweets stopped, but the nastiness continued, with the usual mocking of a woman's weight, looks, and any personal information Jetsunma shared. She shut down her Twitter but felt stifled, so started back up and did her best to ignore him. Since she's a spiritual leader, he adds cult leader to the list of usuals, because that's what you call someone who's built a temple, sparked several charities, and been officially enthroned by a 1,200 year old tradition. But what do those Tibetan Lamas know? His Holiness Penor Rinpoche was no one important, especially not when compared to, wait for it, I'll try to say it with a straight face ...

... a Zen master.

Couldn't do it. That never fails to make me giggle. You see, Andrew Wilson is not just any troll. He's a Zen troll.

How'd that Zen realization hold up while he was throwing around those cat trees?

I guess we're supposed to ignore that part. Because, yessir, Mr. Wilson out in the hills of Oregon is bringing people to great realization with his ... Zen monastery? Nope. Face to face teachings...? Nope. Bodhidharma-like mediation facing a wall...? No.

His Tweets! (And a blog.)

And I leave you to contemplate that part.

ETA: Lo, if you've failed to achieve... Kensho, is it? ... from his Tweets, you have other options. For $2,000 he will deliver a full set of his teachings via Skype. What a mouth-watering deal.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Okay, my website is slowly going back up.

Five more stories are up:

Binary Roles
Between The Lines
Beg Me For It
Bacchanalian Circuit

The reason I took it down was the harassment from this guy. The site's been down for two years.

Considering it ... in my years in fandom, I've stood up to the C&D orders from Raincoast Books in 2003, various fandom wanks, and two former Yahoo execs who started Fanlib in 2007. Why should I give in to this cyberstalker?

There is a difference. Raincoast, fandom, and the Fanlib folks were no doubt decent people who meant well; we simply disagreed and clashed. The harasser on the other hand is an ex-con and dangerous, particularly to women. He went to prison for his assault of his ex-wife, (pled down from rape). And he has a wide range of other charges against him, from (proved) cyberstalking to (demonstrated) fraud, to (suspected) plagiarism. (He's published scholarly articles in fields in which he has no degree or background.)

This is not a good guy.

Raincoast, Fanlib, and the others, we only disagreed over a particular issues. It wasn't personal. When the issue ended, the dispute ended. The harasser on the other hand has pursued a relentless three-year personal vendetta, not connected to any issue. He has no goal except to shut down Jetsunma and my temple.

Even when I had a year-long break while he was incarcerated pending cyberstalking charges, I didn't put my website back together. No time, and fandom wasn't the refuge it has once been.

But those broken links affect a lot of rec-lists, and I haven't been intimidated before. Let the website stand.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
A sharp eyed reporter with a handle on law says "Huh?" to ruling on Twitter case. She notes the judge cited no case law in the decision (except one case irrelevant to the judge's ipse dixit ruling), instead drawing a comparison between "colonial billboards" and Twitter. (No, I don't remember colonial billboards from my high school history class either.)

She ends: "But please, give the case the scrutiny it deserves. The medium here isn't the message here. The message is the message."

ETA: Already blocked one vitriolic Cassidy account (can tell by the name and who else he friended) that friended me on Twitter. And it begins again....
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
The cyberstalker, now released, is at it again. After being free of his presence for the better part of a year, I forgot what a distortionist he is. It's just ... creepy.

Having a cyberstalker is like being under perpetual cloud cover. It affects everything you do. He's not even stalking me personally (except on a few occasions as a temple member) but even so, as I type this I find myself choosing my words, back-spacing, rewriting, wondering if I should lock this post. I realize that while he was behind bars, I felt free to write fic, participate in SGA Santa, try out X-Men and new fandoms. Now that he's back online I'm ... cautious about every post, every fic.

Jetsunma, his target, has left town and has gone to ground. She's been supported by the Tibetan Buddhist lineage, and true to form, that's who the guy's smearing now. He always attacks supporters to isolate his victim. (Can you imagine how he treated his twelve former wives? They were prostitutes. I doubt they had anywhere near the support Jetsunma has.)

She says, "My vocation is over." Her job, her life is to reach out to others. And that's exactly what he's trying to prevent.

She also says, "I feel women’s rights groups should step up and speak out against such injustice, because it will very soon affect us all as well."

Signal boost request: Tell Judge Titus that calling a woman a 'Ho' isn't religious freedom.

These are ground-breaking cyberstalking laws, and usually take more than one appeal.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
The United States of America vs. Cassidy cyberstalking case was dismissed.

Other than the fact that it's my own teacher who's had to endure as many as 350 nasty and threatening @JALPalyul tweets a day (you may not realize that if you type "@ThePersonYouWantToReach" it will turn up in their Tweet stream -- unless you've already been blocked; multiple sockpuppets every day can get around being blocked, as her stalker discovered) --

-- but other than the fact it's her --

I can't help but think about the women in fandom I know who have abusive or controlling husbands, boyfriends, or difficult family lives. For the ones I know, fandom is an escape, a safety valve, a place they can build friendships without having the abuser step in. Abusers typically cut off friendships and isolate women. Helps them consolidate their power. They're often subtle about it: they might belittle the friends and mock their wives poor taste until that friend is gone. I once wrote a story for someone who told me privately that she was being abused by her brother and her (overworked) mother refused to believe he was violent. I know more than one woman whose values don't match their husbands' or families', so online is where they can go.

Women shouldn't have to hide online in the first place. But if they do, their abuser shouldn't be able to chase them down, stalk them, and abuse them there.

The story with Bill Cassidy )

Cassidy was released on December 22nd.

Jetsunma has gone to ground. From her:

"Hello! Hearing that my friends are worried, I’d like to say that I am already in a safe secure place and surrounded by friends. I’ve gone underground as “U.S. vs. Cassidy” was dismissed.
I don’t know how long I must hide.

"But I think of all women, and what we are forced to endure, and I cry for us all. We must continue to support each other, and advocate for woman’s rights and freedom from abuse. We must change the laws and therefore change the world. All beings are equal in nature and we have the right to defend ourselves.

"I’ll be moving again soon. This is a way to be safe while the wheels of justice move forward, and strong women are upheld according to their contributions and gifts. Not destroyed for their strength by men with no respect and no love. My Lineage will support me, and women’s advocates as well. My tears are for those women who have no one. Please look for advocacy groups. You have a right to your own life free of fear and cruelty! And a right to live in peace."

You know what? A woman should be able to tell an unwanted "suitor" no, without receiving years of abuse.
icarus: Snape by mysterious artist (Default)
Is fandom real?

Are our fandom spaces, or our other online haunts like Facebook and Twitter, actual places where we can be stalked, menaced, hunted?

Can we be driven out of our fandom spaces even if they don't occupy physical space (like say, a grocery store)?

If fandom is real, and if we can be driven away from our online friends and made to feel unsafe ... then how vicious does the attacker have to be to cross the line from troll to stalker?

Does it matter who the stalker is in real life? Do threats matter more if the person is an ex-con with a history of violence, versus a pimply ninth grader from the suburbs?

Does it matter how extensive the attack is? We've all probably had a troll for a day or two or three. I even had a wank go on for, oh God, about three weeks before it finally trickled off. What if the attack goes on daily, all day, for two years and amounts to over 8,000 Twitter posts? The New York Times has the story.

I watched this situation unfold and saw the posts this guy and his girlfriend made. They were ugly, crude and misogynistic -- and I could tell when he was posting from his girlfriend's account because he got a lot more sexual, and not in a good way.

And yes, this is the same guy who copy-pasted LJ posts I made to slam me, which caused me to lock this journal and take my fic down from my website.


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