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Day: November 3, 2017

KEVIN SPACEY UNDER MET POLICE INVESTIGATION OVER ALLEGED SEXUAL ASSAULT

The actor Kevin Spacey is being investigated by UK police over an alleged sexual assault.

The Sun newspaper said a man, aged 23 at the time, made a complaint on Tuesday about the alleged incident in the London borough of Lambeth.

The Metropolitan Police confirmed that they are investigating an alleged assault on a man from 2008 but they  would not confirm if the allegation was made against House of Cards actor and double Oscar winner Spacey.

Spacey said on Thursday that he is seeking treatment after facing allegations of sexual misconduct from a string of men.

No arrests

According to the Sun, a British actor made a claim that he woke up to find Spacey performing a sex act on him in 2008.

The man is said to have run from the property after Spacey allegedly said: “Don’t tell anyone about this.”

A spokesman for the Met said it had no record of any arrests having been made in connection with the investigation and police declined to comment on The Sun’s report, which says the complainant had been interviewed by police.

It has been claimed Kevin Spacey “routinely preyed” on young male actors while he was artistic director at the Old Vic

It comes after a number of allegations, including CNN reporting that Spacey made the set of Netflix’s House of Cards into a “toxic” work environment through a pattern of sexual harassment.

It said allegations were made by eight people who currently work on the show, or worked on it in the past, with one former employee alleging the actor sexually assaulted him.

Netflix suspended production on House of Cards on 31 October following allegations by Star Trek actor Anthony Rapp, who claimed Spacey tried to “seduce” him when he was 14.

Spacey said he was “beyond horrified” to hear of the incident, which he does not remember.

US filmmaker Tony Montana also claimed he was groped by the actor in a Los Angeles bar in 2003.

Montana said he was left with PTSD for six months after he claims Spacey “forcefully” grabbed his crotch.

Confidential complaints process

Incidents regarding Spacey are also alleged to have taken place in the UK while he was the artistic director at the Old Vic in London between 2004 and 2015.

Mexican actor Roberto Cavazos, who acted in several plays at the theatre, claimed the star “routinely preyed” on young male actors.

Earlier this week, the Old Vic set up a confidential complaints process for anyone connected to the theatre to come forward.

It said in a statement: “We aim to foster a safe and supportive environment without prejudice, harassment or bullying of any sort, at any level.”

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US CHILD SEX OFFENDERS TO HAVE CONVICTIONS NOTED ON PASSPORTS

The passports of Americans convicted of sex offenses against a child will soon bear a mark of their crimes.

The State Department announced this week that a sentence noting their conviction would be added to the back inside cover of offenders’ passports.

Once the State Department receives their names from the Department of Homeland Security, it will begin notifying affected sex offenders that their passports were being revoked and reissued with the new language.

Smaller passport cards, which can be used only for very limited international travel, will not be issued to such offenders because they lack room for a similar message. It was not immediately clear how many passport holders would be affected.

The policy, which went into effect on Tuesday, was required under legislation passed in 2016 known as “International Megan’s Law.” It is named for Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old girl from New Jersey whose rape and murder in 1994 inspired a slew of namesake laws that allow neighbors to be notified when a sex offender moves to their community. Her attacker, a neighbor, had previous child sex offense convictions.

The new passport law, which is intended “to protect children and others from sexual abuse and exploitation, including sex trafficking and sex tourism,” has drawn criticism.

The Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws, a nonprofit that fights for the civil rights of registered sex offenders, sued the government last year over the measure, arguing that it violated the constitutional rights of registered sex offenders.

“We do believe that this is a very slippery slope,” said Janice Bellucci, the founder and executive director of the group.

“Today, it’s people convicted of sex offenses involving minors, but, given the current political environment, perhaps next it will be Muslims,” she said. “Or maybe it will be people who are gay.”

A federal judge threw out the group’s previous legal challenge but the alliance plans to sue again, this time over the State Department’s implementation of the new law, she said. Ms. Bellucci and other critics say the law is without precedent.

Critics also say American sexual misconduct laws can be overly broad and are sometimes used against perpetrators who are themselves minors when the incidents occurred. In some cases, teenagers have faced sex offense charges for transmitting nude photos of themselves to others.

A State Department spokesman could not say whether the department had issued similar passport declarations for other convictions.

UK: DWP FORCED TO REWRITE PIP RULES FOLLOWING HUMILIATING GOVERNMENT DEFEAT IN COURT

Thousands of disabled people will be given higher benefits after winning a legal victory over the Tory government, The Mirror reports.

Ministers have been forced to rewrite Personal Independence Payment (PIP) rules following the defeat at a top-level court and people will now get £70 to £90 a week extra backdated to the day of the Upper Tribunal, which includes a High Court judge on its panel, in March.

The government believes around 10,000 people will benefit by 2022.

The shake-up axes rules which said people can carry out tasks unsupervised if it’s “unlikely” they’ll come to harm.  Epileptic people warned the old rule left them vulnerable, because even though attacks are unlikely, they’re catastrophic when they happen.

So judges ruled the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should base decisions on how serious harm is, not how likely.

Epilepsy Action chief executive Philip Lee said he was “delighted”, adding: “Many people with the condition could have a seizure at any time, often without warning.

“We know the current system is not working and is failing people with epilepsy. They are more likely to be refused PIP than those with any other health condition.”

Disabilities minister Penny Mordaunt said: “These updates will help us continue to ensure people with the highest costs associated with their disability or health condition are receiving the most support.”

But the minister has risked fury by describing the tribunal as a “binding” legal judgement and deciding to follow it.

When two other Upper Tribunals said 165,000 PIP claimants should get higher benefits, just nine months ago, she defied the judgement.

But the move risks fury – because the Tories defied a previous ‘binding’ judgement

A DWP source said the cases were different, because the previous tribunals – which would have cost £3.7bn by 2022 – tried to widen PIP beyond its “original policy intent”.

“For this recent judgment, we accept the policy intent was less clear,” the source said.

But Phil Reynolds of Parkinson’s UK said: “This leaves disabled people in a really confused position about what the Government might do next and what the change means for them.

“Instead of chipping away at the issue, the Government needs to undertake a thorough review of the entire assessment to ensure people get the support they need first time.”

Laura Wetherly of the MS Society added: “Any change to make assessments more accurate is a positive move, but the PIP rules are still riddled with problems.

“Realistically, the whole system needs to be reviewed.”

Scope added the “flawed assessment process” should be reviewed.

Labour Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary Debbie Abrahams said: “While we welcome any increase in support for those who need PIP, this is a drop in the ocean of the funding that the courts have ruled should rightfully go to recipients.

“The government must immediately act on all of the court judgements on PIP.”

Other changes today ensure people will rack up ‘points’ to qualify for the benefit under both categories of “communicating verbally” and “engaging with others”, even if they appear similar.

The rules will also ensure people with mental health issues or “sensory difficulties” are taken into account better when judging if they should receive PIP.
Jo Campion, Deputy Director of the National Deaf Children’s Society said it was “an important step in the right direction” but it was “ridiculous” that deaf people still can’t apply for PIP online.

KENT MAN ALLEGES SEXUAL HARASSMENT BY MASSEUSE WHO TOOK CLOTHES OFF AND TRIED TO PERFORM SEX ACT ON HIM

The 23 year old man got more than he bargained for when instead of a massage that he paid for, his masseuse attempted to perform a sexual act on him

Josh Burbridge who has waived his right to anonymity, said he went for a sports massage after having sore muscles from a Halloween party on Saturday.

The barista from Tonbridge, Kent, said that after his pre-paid 45 minutes of massage were over, the masseuse took her clothes off, grabbed his genitals, and attempted to perform a sex act.

She also demanded extra cash. Kent Police confirmed that the incident was reported to them, and that they are currently investigating. ‘When I got to the room I stripped down until it was just my jeans that were on,’ he said. ‘She told me to strip all the way down. I did – I was fully naked – I expected her to come in with a towel.

The alleged assault happened in Tonbridge (Picture: Getty Images)

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Victim of alleged sexual assault Josh Burbridge

‘She then immediately started. She did about 30 minutes or so on my back, and then she asked me to turn over – so I did. ‘She started massaging me down from the chest, all the way down to my groin area. She said, “Here now?” to which I thought she was referring to my inner thigh for something professionally done.’

The masseuse then allegedly started taking her clothes off and made a move towards his genitals. Josh said: ‘She then went on to my thighs and started playing with my genitals. When she started doing it, I didn’t know what to do.’ He said he asked her to stop, which she did, but she then asked him for an extra £40 on top of the £35 he had already paid.

The alleged incident which was reported in The Metro was also reported to the Kent Police authorities.

 

Josh said he didn’t have any cash and was told to pay by card. Knowing there was no money in his account, he tried to put the transaction through and it was declined. He then left, saying he would take the matter up with his bank.

 

Josh added: ‘I felt that she thought it was such a normal thing to do. I just felt a really bad vibe about the whole thing. ‘She assumed that was just what I wanted. I would definitely say that’s something that could happen to someone else.’ A spokesman for Kent Police said: ‘Kent Police received a call at 1.20pm on 31 October 2017 to reports of indecent behaviour. Enquiries are ongoing.’

 

 

UK: £5k PENALTY FOR LANDLORDS WHO CHARGE LETTING FEES

Any private landlord in the United Kingdom caught charging tenants a letting fees could find himself facing a penalty of up to £5.000.

This following the publication on Wednesday of a Draft legislation calling for the ban on letting fees for tenants in the private rented sector in England, with a fine of up to £5,000 for landlords who try to charge them.

Landlords found in breach of the ban twice in five years could face criminal prosecution or a civil penalty of as much as £30,000.

Meanwhile, Communities Secretary Sajid Javid is launching a consultation on requiring letting and managing agents to be members of client money protection schemes, with the aim of giving tenants confidence that money paid in deposits is safe and that they can be compensated if it is not returned.

Plans for a letting fee ban were first announced by Chancellor Philip Hammond in his November 2016 autumn statement, and the Conservative manifesto for this year’s snap election promised to press ahead with the scheme. A recent English Housing Survey suggested fees typically cost £223, but 2012 research by housing charity Shelter found that one in seven tenants pays more than £500.

Mr Javid said: ‘This Government is determined to make sure the housing market works for everyone. Tenants should no longer be hit by surprise fees they may struggle to afford and should only be required to pay their rent alongside a refundable deposit. ‘We’re delivering on our promise to ban letting agent fees, alongside other measures to make renting fairer and increase protection for renters.’

The measures are set out in a draft Tenant Fees Bill which will be subject to parliamentary scrutiny before being introduced into law. Alex Neill of consumer campaigners Which? said: ‘Navigating the rental market is stressful and expensive. It’s right for the Government to ban unfair fees, as this will help renters with the significant costs of moving home. ‘This new law must also be enforced so letting agents don’t abuse the system.’

 

 

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