Four hours after lodging the complaint against Hopkins, her blood alcohol level was still two and a half times the legal driving limit, according to medical record that described her condition as a "severe degree of poison." The 27-year-old Wisconsin woman had admitted to a consensual S&M encounter with Hopkins and an online correspondence until she moved into his Williamsburg apartment in February. She stayed there a week, subjected to a litany of punishment and abuse, before claiming she was raped.
Justice Patricia DiMango - who noted, "I'm not an expert in this area" - said all sides concede the kinky relationship was consensual. The question at trial, she added, was whether the woman ever said "No."
The judge rebuffed Stoll's efforts to reduce Hopkins's $350,000 bail, meaning he remains in jail. She ordered the prosecutor to be ready, witness and all, in two weeks.
"I will most certainly do every effort to try," said assistant district attorney Christina Fay.
There is a mind-boggling array of social networks out there, from Facebook, the king of them all, and the ailing Myspace, all the way through to the ones you don’t know about, which target niche interests such as a love for auteur cinema and an interest in cheese.
Memeburn roamed the world of social networks and picked out eight choice examples, selected for their surprising user numbers, intriguing content and quirky characters. Here they are, in no particular order
Users: 873 369
What is it?FetLife is a social network for people who are into bondage, domination and sadomasochism (BDSM). All kinksters are welcome.
There are a raft of adult-only social networking sites out there, most of which promise free and fast sex and nearly all which have misleading pictures (I’m guessing, honestly). What separates FetLife from other x-rated social-networking sites is that it encourages BDSM enthusiasts to, er, bond before they pull on the leathers and whip out the handcuffs. Even the trussed-up lady on the entry page looks like she’s getting genuine rather than masochistic joy out of being there. ...
After exploring pot-dealing in suburbia in its dark comedy Weeds, Lionsgate Television is taking on another suburban taboo in a new reality series. Certain to create controversy, Bedroom Community revolves around a group of swingers -- suburban couples who swap partners. Lionsgate shot a presentation for the project, which is now being shopped to cable networks. Bedroom Community is one of the first projects shepherded by reality producer Eli Frankel, who in March signed a two-year deal with Lionsgate. "The world of swingers is mythologized in American pop culture, but very few people outside of it have seen it," Frankel said. And many would be surprised looking in, he said. "What we have seen on shows about swingers are primarily older hippies, fringe people who are a little bit dirty. What we found are elite groups of people in upscale communities who are good-looking and have money and access. That glossy version is much more interesting to watch." ...
The PBS history series, American Experience, recently aired a documentary on the Stonewall Uprising. You know that story, don't you?
In June 1969, New York City police attempted to shut down the Stonewall Bar in Greenwich Village. It was customary then for the police to raid such bars in an effort to harass and embarrass the gay clientele inside. But at Stonewall, the gays fought back. Riots broke out for days, eventually leading to changes in New York's discriminatory laws against homosexuals.
I couldn't help thinking about Stonewall this morning when I read how police recently cracked down on a south St. Louis swingers club. Three cops and a liquor control agent posed as male-female couples on Saturday and ventured into the Red 7 at 8658 Broadway.
The club was hosting a party that night for St. Louis Adult Connections, a social club that describes itself as an "adult group for committed lifestyle friendly couples and ladies 21 and over." Apparently, Red 7 had hosted the group numerous times -- and someone tipped off the cops. As the Post-Dispatchchronicles today, once inside the bar, the undercover officers saw "women with their shirts unbuttoned and clothing removed, couples openly fondling each other and groups having oral sex." The cops called in their findings to a police lieutenant who sent in the blue shirts.
An estimated 150 people were in attendance. Two people -- a patron and one of the bar's co-owners, Alen Prohic -- were ticketed for permitting lewd or indecent conduct or entertainment in a licensed liquor establishment. It's unclear whether the other owner, Jeffrey Koenigs, was there Saturday.
"It's sort of like raves used to be," said Liquor Commissioner Bob Kraiberg, in explaining the bust. "If you're not watching the swinger pages, you're not going to know about it." ...
One woman wrote in a criminal complaint in April that a man walloped her with a horse riding crop and pressed his knees to her back when she asked him to stop.
Four other women filed complaints against the same Beach businessman days later, some accusing him of periodic spankings over five months or more. One wrote that she had endured strikes with a leather strap in exchange for a birthday party for her daughter. Two claimed the man wouldn't let them leave until they agreed to beatings that at times left welts and bruises on their backsides.
Later, police arrested 54-year-old Virginia Beach restaurateur Henry Allen Fitzsimmons on a charge of sexual battery and multiple counts of assault and abduction. Three charges of object sexual penetration followed.
A judge is set to hear evidence at a preliminary hearing Thursday. At an April 19 bond hearing, prosecutor Paul Powers called Fitzsimmons a "predator" who gave so-called scholarships to women in financial predicaments with the caveat they be spanked if they broke rules.
Defense attorney Robert Byrum called the case a concoction by an opportunistic former employee and others. "There's a whole backstory that's different than what appears here," he said. ...
David Ortmann is a San Francisco-based psychotherapist, sex therapist, and author. His areas of clinical focus and study include the sexuality of the BDSM, kink, fetish, and leather communities, concepts and theories of masculinity, and the processes of human attachment and differentiation. He speaks locally and nationally in an effort to promote leather and BDSM community visibility and improve clinical psychotherapeutic interventions for these populations.
Scott Brogan: I've noticed that many people I meet in our community have vocations in mental health or some type of psychology. Is there a correlation?
David Ortmann: It's funny, I haven't noticed that. Maybe I don't see it because I'm a member of these communities and a mental health professional. Perhaps I take it for granted or just see it as normative. What I will say is that what we manipulate, exploit and use in the leather/kink/fetish/BDSM communities (power, roles, gear, levels of dominance and submission, etc.) requires a person to have a certain level of healthy self-reflection and a sense of responsibility that can really only be found in someone who has an awareness of their own psychological makeup. This kind of sexuality isn't meant to be undertaken thoughtlessly or unconsciously. ...
If you were to visit one of the newest businesses licensed to operate in St. Louis, you wouldn't see people having sex. Not that.
But you might see a person getting florentined: They'd be cuffed standing, facing a wall, with a person behind them wielding a pair of multi-stranded leather implements called floggers hitting them -- hard, yes -- in a pattern of interlocking ellipses. It's possible you'd see a woman bound to a pillar in the middle of the room with Saran wrap, her every curve hugged close by the cling. You might see people taking turns shocking each other with an ultraviolet wand. And you might leave with bruises on your ass that take weeks to heal -- but not if you don't ask for them.
BDSM -- which stands for bondage, discipline, submission and dominance, also known as sadomasochism -- is nothing new to St. Louis. The city has a sizable population of BDSM enthusiasts: folks who practice consensual exchanges of power or pain, or other forms of extreme physical sensation.
The news here is that these kinksters are coming out of the shadows and into your neighborhood. And that's a good thing, proponents say -- for the community, for the economy and for society at large. After all, they're already in your neighborhood. They just want to be aboveboard about it.
There are at least four groups around the city, if not more, who routinely host play parties. The parties follow strict codes of behavior: There is no sex and no nudity. Party guests compare notes on bondage techniques, pleasure and pain, and they demonstrate what they've figured out. Participants show identification at the door, and parties require guests to be of-age -- 18 years old at some parties, 21 at others.
But despite the strict rules, such gatherings have long operated in a legal gray area. One group had operated in a residential home out near the airport, drawing participants via word-of-mouth and FetLife.com, a kink-oriented social networking site. Other groups rent out halls for their parties. Some parties are hosted in back rooms of established venues like bars. All of them operate at the risk of running afoul of city codes, in terms of safety and occupancy permits. ...