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Old 17-July-2003, 21:37
squidgy
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Question The things the press say about Toby Studebaker

I'm going to admit to a prejudice:

Until recently, I've always thought that if you have relatives who are prepared to do camera interviews, then, by definition, you can't possibly be a child abuser.

It's the stigma, you see. You don't have to be guilty. Even if you're innocent, it just needs a suspicion, or an inferential accusation, to get you lots of unfavourable column inches. The vigilantes don't care whether you're guilty or not. At least that's the impression I've always picked up off our press, and the way I hear some people talk.

How do the authorities go about proving child abuse anyway, though? No - I didn't ask that. Point is, I have a nasty feeling that the "proof" required to send you down for child abuse is very little, and circumstantial. How would they ever find anyone guilty otherwise? In fact, why would it even be an issue in the press in the first place?

Maybe that's why the stigma exists.

Thing is, if you're associated with a suspect known to the press, then you suffer the same stigma that the suspect does. It takes a very strong family bond to stick up for someone suspected of child abuse. I hate to sound cynical, but blood isn't that thick. Families split up for far lesser reasons than this.

But Toby's got Leo and Sherry. That makes me think that he's probably innocent, and that the whole thing really was a genuine mistake.

Perhaps I shouldn't jump to such conclusions. Maybe I'm wrong.

But then again - the fact that Shevaun is back with her folks also strongly suggests to me that it's all perfectly innocent. I think that if he'd done anything that he didn't want to appear in the press or be sent down for, he'd have offed Shevaun so that she couldn't talk about it.

So why is he still being held?

There are definitely a lot of curious gaps in the story. Any opinions? Thanks.
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  #2  
Old 18-July-2003, 06:48
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According to yesterday's Guardian (can't find a link to the story on their site) not only has child porn been found on his computer, but he has also been charged with molesting a 12 year old girl in the US.
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Old 19-July-2003, 00:19
squidgy
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Yes, I noticed that too. Apparently, he also dumped his wife Jenny whilst she was in hospital, undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. She was getting state benefits that were supposed to pay for her medical care. They were paid directly into Jenny's bank account, and Toby had a debit card for it. Which he continued to go shopping with, after dumping her. So she ended up claiming bankruptcy in the last few months of her life. When she died, he got a $60,000 life insurance payout .....

But hang on a mo. What does all this mean? So he may have been an insensitive and unfaithful husband - and possibly a fraudster too. Still doesn't make him a paedophile, though.

That said, I have to say it's incredibly interesting!

About the 12 year old molesting - the only sources I seem to be able to find say that he faced allegations, but that they were never proved.

Oh yeah - and apparently there was a picture of Toby on Shevaun's computer. She must have known how old he was ...

Course, I say that - but perhaps Shevaun didn't expect the media fallout to happen. The whole story still seems very gappy to me.

I'm wondering exactly what his motives for crossing the pond were anyway. People might say "he's a dirty paedophile pervert", as if that somehow explains it. Well, okay ... but if he's just after young girls, it still doesn't explain why he didn't just hook up with someone local. No disrespect, but what was so special to him about Shevaun?

It really looks to me like there's more to this than meets the eye. I'm not saying he is, or isn't, a paedophile - but I think that leaving it at that would be oversimplifying it.
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Old 19-July-2003, 22:40
Appuleius
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Dont care what you any of you say about this guy his family still makes good automobiles (or did?)
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Old 19-July-2003, 23:33
squidgy
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Ah - spelling.

Now that Shevaun is back, the media seem to be losing interest in it. I suppose it could have turned out scary.

Why didn't Toby send Shevaun home when he realised?

Ah - maybe she'd blackmailed him. He could have forcibly taken her home - except that maybe Shevaun had been told never to give out her address over the internet! So Toby might not have known it.

But they exchanged letters, no? Let's not forget that Toby had already put a lot of his own personal time into it before they met in Manchester. So I think it's understandable that this may have clouded his judgement.

Of course, Shevaun's parents report her missing. Next thing, the media is outing all of Toby's secrets. I bet that can't have been pleasant.

Shevaun and her parents could have been much more careful. But then again, so could Toby. It seems to me that out of all of them, Toby is the one who's had the worst outcome. I think that's to his credit - because as we all know, it could have panned out a lot worse for Shevaun.

Have any of you ever done internet dating? The more I hear of this kind of thing, the less keen I am on the idea.

Mind you, I don't think it's an internet thing. I think the same thing could have just as easily happened through personal classifieds. I've only recently heard of speed-dating, and I think it's probably safer.
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Old 20-July-2003, 01:09
merlin
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I will hold judgment until the full facts are released, if they ever are. It is well known that the newspapers are only interested in selling their paper. What may or may not have been in this case is irrelevant , The fact that it makes good publishing is the key fact.

The papers have two good story line's here. One is the fact that a 12 year old girl has gone missing, along with a 31 year old guy from America, both are known to have become friends on the internet. The second story is the internet itself, are our children safe when chatting on chat sites.

Ok let's look at the first story, the key factor here is the age difference, 12 year old runs off with 31 year old, headline stuff in it's own rite. Now lets dig deeper, not in to the background of the 12 year old because she is innocent of all blame, and must have been co-herced in to running away in the first place.

So what can we dig up on the American guy. Allegedly he assaulted other young girls, the case went to court but was if I remember thrown out due to lack of evidence.

Then we hear that pornographic photo's of young children have been found on his home computer. As we have discussed on this site before " define pornographic ". We all have become aware a simple photo of a persons daughter in the bath, has in the past been misconstrued as pornographic. I believe America's laws on this subject tend to be stronger than ours, so what do they class as pornographic material.

Armed with the above information, the press jump at the chance to make the story a major headline, the guy is obviously a Pedophile a Monster, and any other name that will grab your attention, anything to make you want to purchase their paper.
How many times do they get it wrong ?, the main story hit's the front page, but when they get it wrong the apology is a few lines hidden somewhere near the pack of the paper.

The next story they run is " Are our children safe from the internet perverts" , " stronger controls are needed to protect our young".

Yes I agree stronger controls are needed, but from the parents not from the internet providers. As far as I am aware most chat rooms are monitered, but there is only so much they can do.
In this particular case the child was allowed to surf the net up to 11 hours per day, and then they cut it down to 5 hours a day. If one of my children at that age was on the net for as much as 2 hours a day, I would want to know what they were doing.

I have to ask myself what were her parents doing while she was surfing, obviously not checking what she was doing. Or was it a case of out of sight out of mind. The fact alone that she was prepared to run away form home brings up questions, ok this guy might have convinced her he was a lot younger than he was, but why did she feel the need to run away?.


There are a fair number of questions that need to be asked regarding this case, but I doubt they ever will be. When we hear all the facts only then can we pass judgment.
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Old 20-July-2003, 08:43
Appuleius
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Nowt rong wiv my speelin I wus talken fonetikaly. geddit?
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  #8  
Old 20-July-2003, 09:17
squidgy
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Yes I do. It's just that Google news also keeps pointing out the spelling too.

The fact alone that she was prepared to run away form home brings up questions, ok this guy might have convinced her he was a lot younger than he was, but why did she feel the need to run away?
I'm sure you don't intend that to sound like Shevaun's parents are totally at fault.

Another way of looking at it is that Shevaun wasn't really in any trouble until she decided to go out that morning. If her parents hadn't let her go, it would have been okay - no?

Trouble with that is that you can't expect your kids to stay in all the time. They have to go to school now and then, for one thing. Many better off parents with cars make a point of taking their kids to school. Maybe that's why we now have the London congestion charge. But poorer families don't have that option. For this reason, children are very strongly encouraged to make their own way to school if their parents are even half okay with it.

Another option is mobile phone tracking, like they have in Japan. The parents would still have been able to let Shevaun go, but if they found she'd gone out of the area, or had turned her phone off, they would have realised something wasn't right far far sooner.

Although I get indignant about the media's treatment of Toby, I must admit I do enjoy the soap opera of it all! Pleased that Shevaun's okay.
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