shutterstock_60119494 (1)

 

We all know Dwayne. My students know him as that guy at the Boys and Girls club with the thumb (an injury took off part of his thumb), my son went to a Harlem Globetrotters game with him (no reports of “lewd acts”), and he was that kinda curmudgeonly guy who registered me when I coached T-ball, basketball and volleyball at the B & G Club. Nice, funny, devoted to kids: boy was I wrong.

His release from the B&G club was abrupt and a little confusing but I just figured things were being restructured. Even now I am hesitant about writing this knowing that the allegations have not been proven in court. Time will tell.

The lesson, if there is one, is to be vigilant, be aware and trust your instincts. That funny feeling you get when things are a little sketchy is your brain throwing up a red flag, telling you to check things out and dig deeper. Bad people prey on the vulnerable, it’s a story I hate writing but one we have to discuss.

Educate, Organize, Rescue

We’re all vulnerable. Wake up, live our lives, make the best choices we know, create, fail, succeed, do it all again the next day. Pretty simple. 21 million people don’t have those choices. Slavery is alive and well in 2016, learn about it at freetheslaves.net or check out the amazing work of Lisa Kristine: the brick makers in India, the stone carriers in Nepal, the gold miners in Ghana. Educate yourself then organize then stop buying products produced by slavery (almost impossible).

There should be a special place in our legal system for those who take advantage of others. Especially when they are entrusted with caring for those others. Police, teachers, clergy, we are given a great responsibility to help people through difficult times, to understand and sympathize and teach. Serve and protect, not abuse and neglect. Unfortunately, some head into those professions because they want to take advantage of the vulnerable.

We don’t know exactly what happened to Jasmine aka Celeste Guap. We do know that she is now suing the city of Oakland for 66 million following years of really bad craziness. The courts will decide in the next few months whether the allegations are true but the story is pretty staggering.

First experience with prostitution at 12, pimped out at 14, started having sex with police officers at 16 including an Oakland cop she considered her boyfriend and a Contra Costa County Sheriffs Deputy who would drive her to a rural road near the Caldecott Tunnel. Sex with 29 officers in 2 years including Brendan O’Brien, an officer who committed suicide. Obrien’s wife also died of an apparent suicide two years previous however there were two shots fired and no gunshot residue on her hands.

Jasmine’s mom is a police dispatcher (what?) and Jasmine reported officers would tip her off to prostitution sting operations. The whole thing is like a bad TV movie. The Oakland PD went through  four police chiefs in 10 days and now this. As if being a 5-0 in Oakland isn’t hard enough.

I know too many kids who have dabbled in sexual dysfunction (porn, sugar mommas and daddies, escorts, prostitution) Julie’s story is one I talk about often in my class.  The saddest part of the tale is that since I wrote it in 2012 Julie story has not ended. I’ve seen her twice in the past 4 years and her struggles continue. Life is hard, the money is good, she doesn’t know what else to do.

The vulnerable need our help.