November 28, 2015

ISU professor warns terrorists are using sex trade to finance activities

Teresa Downing-Matibag

Teresa Downing-Matibag

An Iowa State University sociology professor says the world is at a “tipping point” when it comes to human trafficking. Professor Teresa Downing-Matibag is a volunteer with the Iowa-based Network Against Human Trafficking.

“This is an issue of national security in many, many ways. Terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State are using human trafficking to fund their activities,” she says. “Gangs and criminal syndicates operating both intrastate and interstate are using human trafficking to fund their activities.”

The International Labor Organization estimates 27 million people around the world are either enslaved in the sex trade or have been sold into forced labor.

“It is the second-fastest growing crime in the world, next to drug trafficking,” Downing-Matibag says. “If we do not break up the highly-organized networks through which this crime operates, they will become a permanent part of our landscape and no one will be safe in any community or in any home.”

The Iowa-based Network Against Human Trafficking recently conducted a training session for staff at the state prison for female inmates. Downing-Matibag says prison staff tell her there are women in the Mitchellville prison who’ve been trafficked.

“This is an issue for them,” Downing-Matibag says. “It is also an issue for their children who are also at risk while they are incarcerated.”

The network is providing training for Iowa foster care parents as well as employees in hotels and motels in how best to respond to victims of human trafficking. Downing-Matibag says it’s time to discuss this issue in the open rather than sweep it under the rug “and figure out very targeted and strategic ways to serve victims and identify this activity.”

Downing-Matibag made her comments earlier this month during a statehouse hearing. She recommended changes in state law to target the buyers. She said it’s time to force those arrested for paying for sex to notify their spouse or partner, so they can be tested for sexually transmitted diseases. In addition, she said the courts should be allowed to seize property to pay any fines assesses against those arrested for trying to buy sex.

BBB urges Iowans to beware of ‘computer doctor’ phone scam

ComputerIowans may be sitting down to a turkey dinner soon, but don’t be surprised if, even today, the phone rings and it’s someone offering to help you and your “ailing” computer.

Jim Hegarty, with the Better Business Bureau, is warning Iowans to beware as it’s a scam, often involving con artists claiming to be with a company called Team Viewer.

“Somebody that claims to be representing Microsoft, they’ve detected malware on your computer, they need to log on remotely so you give them access to your system so they can analyze the situation,” Hegarty says. “People will give them this access, which is mistake number one.”

The next mistake, he says, is giving them permission to fix something on your computer that’s not really broken.

“Once they’re in your system, they’ll say they’ve identified the problem and it’ll be like $399 to get it cleaned up,” Hegarty says. “Of course, you’re always able to put that on a major credit card.”

No matter how good the story may sound, he says not to believe it and certainly don’t give them any personal financial information or computer passwords.

“Not only have you allowed them remote access into your system and Lord knows what they’ve done when they’re in there, you’ve also given them access to your credit card information,” Hegarty says. “Very typically, we’ll almost immediately begin to see unauthorized charges being made with those cards that people have given to them.”

Hegarty says if you get one of these calls, the BBB wants to hear about it. You can log on to to report the scam or call it in. He says they have “first responders” ready to help.



Iowa City man accused of multiple assaults

Police-lightsUniversity of Iowa Police have arrested the person suspected of multiple assaults earlier this month.

U-I Police arrested 32-year-old Adam Weinstein of Iowa City following his release from University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics, where he was involuntarily committed after police took him into custody.

Weinstein has been charged with one count of third-degree sexual abuse, four counts of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, and three counts of third-degree harassment following a series of physical and verbal attacks on campus November 10th. The attacks prompted a campus-wide Hawk Alert.


Des Moines woman charged in accident that killed two people

Deanna Gliem

Deanna Gliem

Des Moines Police Sergeant Paul Parizek says investigators have confirmed their suspicions about a traffic crash this month that killed two people.

“The evidence at the scene, some things put us on the path to believe that excessive speed and possible impairment might have been significant contributing factors to this accident,” Parizek said.

The crash happened on the evening of Sunday, November 15 when a car driven by 53-year-old Deanna Gliem of Des Moines hit another car that was merging onto Hubbell Avenue on Des Moines’ southeast side. Two men in the car were killed.

Police announced today that Gliem is now facing charges. She was booked into the Polk County Jail on two counts of vehicular homicide by operating while intoxicated and two counts of vehicular homicide by reckless driving. Gliem was injured in the crash. She appears to be wearing a neck brace in her mugshot. The two people in the car that died in the accident were the driver, 60-year-old Richard Hummel, and a passenger, 59-year-old Randall Sonnenburg.

Family members said Hummel had dropped off his granddaughters at church moments before the crash. Parizek would not discuss details about exactly how Gliem was allegedly impaired – either by drugs or alcohol. “Where she was and what she was doing are definitely things we’re interested in and we feel are probably relevant to the investigation,” Parizek said. “Obviously, the charge of vehicular homicide by operating while intoxicated indicates we feel we have the necessary evidence to support that she was intoxicated at the time.”

As of this morning, Gliem was being held on a $70,000 bond. Online court records show Gliem has no criminal record in Iowa.


Appeals Court upholds Cambridge man’s murder conviction

GavelThe Iowa Court of Appeals has upheld the conviction of a Cambridge man who was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of his wife. A jury found Jeremy Cory guilty shooting his wife Vallerie to death in their home in 2014.

The evidence showed Cory remained at home with his wife’s decomposing body for at least four days and lied about her whereabouts when a friend and then a police officer checked on her welfare.

Cory appealed verdict, claiming the district court hurt his defense by not allowing him to present evidence of his alcoholism and by limiting questions to potential jurors about alcohol abuse. He also claimed evidence of a burglary at his house two weeks after his arrest should have been allowed.

The Appeals Court ruled that prosecutors presented overwhelming evidence that Cory had an explosive temper and an unstable marriage and used his own rifle to shoot his wife eighteen times. The Appeals Court says the district court abused its discretion in excluding the evidence of Cory’s alcoholism, as evidence of his history of alcohol abuse would have provided a larger context for his unusual decision to remain in the home and drink beer for several days after he allegedly found his wife dead. But, the court ruled the exclusion of the evidence was harmless as the jury would have still found the him guilty.

The court ruled the evidence of the break in at the home should have been included, but also found the exclusion of that evidence was not enough to reverse the jury verdict. The Appeals Court did not rule on Cory’s claim that his attorney was ineffective for not trying to suppress statements he made to police. The court says the record needs to be more fully developed on the issue and left it open for Cory to make another appeal on the claim.

Here’s the full ruling: Cory ruling PDF


Cedar Rapids taking donations to clear parking meter fines

Parking-Meter-expiredCedar Rapids is forgiving downtown parking violation fines during the next month, exchanging those parking tickets for gifts to agencies serving homeless and needy families.

Doug Neumann, the city’s downtown parking board director, says gift cards or items like coats and gloves will forgive the fines.

Neumann says, “Any charges that you have, either overdue charges that you want to get cleared or things that you might accumulate here in the next couple of holiday weeks, it is all eligible for this program.”

Cedar Rapids is exchanging the parking fines for like-value gifts through December 23rd.

(Thanks to Dean Borg, Iowa Public Radio)


Des Moines man charged with OWI in fatal accident

Police car lightsA Des Moines man is now facing several charges in connection with a fatal accident.

Des Moines police have charged 24-year-old Troy Lee Mure Junior with vehicular homicide by reckless driving, vehicular homicide by operating while intoxicated and first offense operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated.

Police say Mure was behind the wheel Monday when the car he was driving hit a utility pole. Twenty-two-year-old passenger, Scalicity Boyd, died in the accident. Officers who first arrived on the scene reported the car was so badly damaged they couldn’t tell what model it was.

Mure was taken to the hospital for treatment after the accident and was arrested after being released today.