Tag Archives: #AFS

2013 Apr 17: Removed from host-family without either party wanting it

Program: AFS
Location: USA
Posted: April 17, 2013

We are right now experiencing the same kind of situation that others have talked about, where a student was abruptly pulled from the home over a fairly minor issue, that could have easily been resolved with some guidance from AFS. The student made the unlucky choice of calling his liaison for help one day, and the next day found himself being picked up from school with his belongings and whisked off to a new family in another town. My children were heartbroken and filled with self-blame for what they could have done to cause this situation. Although we were advised by AFS to break all contact with the student, so he could start his “new life” elsewhere, we have followed his saga on Facebook, where he has poured out his frustration, anger and despair over being uprooted from his family and friends here, and his continued attempts, over the past 3 months, to return to our town. He has even rallied the support of his friends at his high school here, having them sign petitions supporting his attempts to return here. AFS seems to have turned a deaf, bureaucratic ear to his pleas. I think AFS simply does not have the staff to deal with situations of any kind of complexity. It is so sad for the student, who will remember for the rest of his life that his experience in America was marred like this. And sad for my children, who feel that the wonderful experience of having an AFS student somehow failed, for reasons they do not quite understand.

2008 Dec 17: African American Student in Russia Stabbed by Neo-Nazis

By Maria Rozalskaya

On December 5th in Volgograd (Southern Russia), an 18 year-old African American was stabbed. Stanley Robinson came to Russia to participate in a student exchange program. On a Volgograd street he ran into a group of local teenagers who picked a quarrel with him, as a result he was hospitalized with two knife wounds. His mother who spoke with him by phone said they are sure it was racially motivated.

This case is one of hundreds occurring every year in Russia. According to the statistics gathered by a Moscow based NGO “SOVA Center for Information and Analysis”, by December 1st there were 83 people murdered and 365 injured. These figures are far from being correct; the real number of violent hate crimes is much higher. The majority of crimes go unreported both by police and mass media.

However, the statistics mentioned above do help to monitor hate crimes to a degree. Although the incidence of racist violence is not increasing dramatically every year, they are becoming more and more cruel, making such cases as Robinson’s appear quite lucky.

One of the last high profile cases is the one of a 20 year-old guest worker from Tadjikistan who was murdered and beheaded by neo-nazis in Moscow. His head was found in another district, placed stealthily next to one of the Moscow municipality offices. The case stands out not only because of the gruesome particulars, but also because it was a clear terrorist act: before the head was discovered, neo-nazis sent e-mails to several NGOs and media outlets taking responsibility for the action, and announcing that the head was placed in the same district where a few months before a Russian girl had been raped and murdered, allegedly by an Uzbek man.

Anti-fascists and human rights defenders often become victims of hate motivated violence or death threats themselves.

On June 19, 2004 in St. Petersburg, Nikolai Girenko, an expert on right-wing extremism, was gunned down in his apartment. On November 13, 2005, 20-year-old human rights activist and musician, Timur Kacharava, was murdered and his friend Maxim Zgibai stabbed in St. Petersburg. On April 16, 2006, in Moscow, Alexander Ryukhin, a human rights activist, was stabbed to death on his way to a concert. On December 22, 2006 in Moscow, Tigran, also an activist, found a bomb on his staircase and on March 27, 2007, in Izhevsk, Stanislav Korepanov, a supporter of human rights, was beaten by nazis and died from his injuries a few days later. On July 21, 2007, 21-year-old Ilya Borodaenko was stabbed to death during the attack of a group of neo-nazis at an ecological camp in Siberia. On March 16, 2008, in the center of Moscow, 20 year old Alexey Krylov was stabbed to death on his way to a human rights concert. On October 10, 2008, in Moscow, 27-year-old Fyodor Filatov, one of the leaders of the human rights movement, was stabbed to death as he was leaving his home.

Photos, home addresses and telephone numbers of human rights defenders repeatedly appear on hate websites with calls for violence against them.

The response of the law enforcement is not satisfactory, though it is slowly improving, with more and more neo-nazis convicted for committing crimes with a hate motive. Law enforcement tends to prosecute singular and low profile individual nationalistic statements rather than to fight with popular and influential hate websites and to detect and put on trial perpetrators of violent crimes. Moreover, in a number of cities, there is a strong suspicion that many police officers sympathize with neo-nazis and not only avoid investigating hate crimes, but also help neo-nazis by criminalizing human rights activists and leaking their personal data to the right wing websites.

As for Stanley Robinson’s case, two 17 year-old neo-nazi skinheads have been detained and confessed to the attack. Stanly was moved from Volgorgad to a hospital in Helsinki for recovery. He is in grave, but stable condition.

Maria is a researcher at the SOVA Center for Information and Analysis (Moscow, Russia), and a volunteer with several antifascist and refugee aid projects.


Color and blocked text added by me to make access to SR’s case easier.

2008 Dec 12: Russia: Stabbing of African-American Exchange Student May Be Hate Crime

2008 Dec 15: Hurt R.I. Student moved to Finland

2008 Dec 15: Hurt R.I. Student moved to Finland

Monday, December 15, 2008

MOSCOW – The mother of an American exchange student who was stabbed in Russia says her son has been transferred to a hospital in Finland.

Stanley Robinson, 18, of Providence was stabbed by unknown assailants in the southern Russian city of Volgograd Dec. 5.

Robinson was studying Russian on a program arranged by the American Field Service, or AFS.

The organization said Saturday it had arranged his transfer to Finland, and his mother, Tina Robinson, confirmed by phone yesterday that he was hospitalized in Helsinki.


2008 Dec 12: Russia: Stabbing of African-American Exchange Student May Be Hate Crime

2008 Dec 12: Russia: Stabbing of African-American Exchange Student May Be Hate Crime

An African-American exchange student has been stabbed by unknown assailants in a southern Russian city in an attack officials say may have been racially motivated.

Stanley Robinson, 18, of Providence, Rhode Island, was in grave but stable condition Friday at Hospital No. 12 in the southern city of Volgograd, the hospital’s head doctor said.

Investigators were trying to determine if the Dec. 5 assault on Robinson was a hate crime, said city police spokeswoman Svetlana Smolyaninova. No suspects have been detained, and she said authorities have not ruled out robbery or random violence.

But Robinson’s mother, who has spoken twice with her son by telephone since the attack, has no doubts about what motivated the attack.

“I believe it happened because he is a person of color,” Tina Robinson said in a telephone interview Friday from her home in Providence. “It was completely unprovoked.”

The stabbing took place in Volgograd, an industrial city of 1 million people 550 miles southeast of Moscow.

Tina Robinson said her son had developed pneumonia, and said she was trying to arrange his transfer to a Western-style medical facility. “I’m very concerned about the care he’s getting there,” she said.

The U.S. Embassy declined comment, citing privacy concerns.

In recent years Russia has seen a rising number of attacks against members of non-Slavic ethnic groups, particularly darker-skinned migrants from the Caucasus region and Central Asia. African students and immigrants are also frequent targets of attacks, but attacks on Westerners are rare.

Two Tajik men were attacked in a town north of Moscow last week. One was beheaded and Russian media reported his head was found 12 miles away. On obscure nationalist group claimed responsibility in an e-mail to the Sova hate-crime monitoring group.

Tina Robinson said she was unaware of Russia’s troubles with racism when her son left for a year abroad. “If I had any inkling that there was any possibility of this happening, I would have tried to dissuade him,” she said.

The victim’s mother and police gave slightly differing accounts.

Smolyaninova said three men approached Robinson at about 6 p.m. in a dark street far from his host family’s home. The assailants stabbed Robinson twice in the chest, she said.

Tina Robinson said her son had just finished working out at a gym and was headed for a bus stop when a single stranger approached and punched him. Robinson punched back, his mother said. The attacker then pulled a knife and stabbed Robinson in the chest and side, she said.

Relatives said Robinson, a graduate of East Providence High School in Rhode Island, was three months into his stay. He was studying Russian on a program arranged by the American Field Service, or AFS.

A woman who answered the phone at AFS’s Moscow offices said no one could comment. She declined to give her name.

Tina Robinson said she did not blame the host family. The host family could not be reached for comment Friday.

Galina Kozhevnikova, the deputy head of Sova, said at least 385 people have been hurt in racially motivated attacks this year. According to Sova, at least 85 people have been killed in such incidents.

2009 Oct 20: Licata sentenced for unlawful restraint

Posted Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009

Former Colleyville councilman Tony Licata, 58, was sentenced Tuesday to 24 months of probation for unlawfully restraining a foreign exchange student at his home last year, according to court records. Licata will also have to “continue private counseling for a minimum of two sessions” each month and was fined $386, according to court documents. If he fulfills terms of his probation, the conviction will be set aside.

Licata resigned his seat earlier this year on the day the arrest warrant was executed.

Licata’s attorney, Barry Sorrels of Dallas, had no immediate comment. The prosecutor who handled the case was in court Tuesday afternoon and couldn’t be reached.

Licata was sentenced a day before his case was due for disposition in County Criminal County No. 1.


2009 May: Colleyville Councilman Accused of Fondling Exchange Student

2009 May: Licata Accused of Fondling Exchange Student

Tony Licata, a two-term councilman, resigned last week after his arrest on suspicion of unlawful restraint.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009 • Updated at 5:45 PM CST

A two-term Colleyville City Council member and longtime youth coach has been accused of pinning down and fondling a foreign exchange student living at his home.

Tony Licata, 57, resigned his seat the same day he was arrested last week. He was booked on suspicion of unlawful restraint, posted $2,500 bail and was released later on Thursday, according to Tarrant County Jail.

Alan Levy, a Tarrant County prosecutor, said the charge against Licata may change after the case is presented to a grand jury.

Licata’s attorney Stephanie Luce said he is “a good and decent man” but said she would not comment further until her office investigates the allegations, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

American Field Service, which arranged for Licata to host the girl, received an emergency report about an incident one night in November and moved her from Licata’s upscale home in the Fort Worth suburb. But the agency did not contact police.

Authorities were alerted in April by the girl’s therapist, according to the arrest warrant affidavit obtained by the newspaper.

Marlene Baker, AFS-USA spokeswoman, said she could not discuss specifics of the case but that students’ safety and security is the organization’s first priority. Based on information at the time, “we followed protocol … (that) included moving the student, notifying the student’s parents, notifying the (U.S.) State Department and offering counseling to the student,” Baker said.

On that November night, Licata called the girl into his bedroom to show her a cell phone, and they sat on the bed reading the instruction book. But when she started to get up, Licata grabbed her and began touching her inappropriately, according to the affidavit.

The girl struggled and Licata threw her on the bed, allegedly pinning her and kissing her neck and shoulders. She broke free, crying, and Licata apologized before letting her leave, according to the document.

The girl went to the home of a friend, who called AFS. The agency moved her to another city on an emergency placement, and later moved her to another host family.

After she told her therapist, the girl and her friend who translated for her met at a high school with an investigator for the Tarrant County District Attorney’s Office. The girl said she would call Licata’s cell phone while the conversation was recorded.

According to the affidavit, during that phone call Licata apologized about the incident several times and said he had told his wife and a counselor. He also said that AFS had told him not to contact her but that he was concerned about her and “wanted to visit with her further and would talk to his wife to see how that would best be accomplished,” according to the document.

Licata, who runs a management consulting firm, was elected to the City Council in 2005 and re-elected to a three-year term in 2007. He was a youth sports coach from 1987-99, heading soccer, baseball and wrestling teams. He is also a community volunteer.

Colleyville Councilman Mike Taylor said Licata had asked that his resignation be kept quiet until he was ready to announce it. Taylor said he had not heard of the allegations against Licata, who had cited personal reasons for stepping down.

“Mr. Licata was an excellent council member, and we’re going to miss him,” Taylor said. “He did a very good job for the citizens.”
Copyright Associated Press

2009 Oct 21: USA: Former Councilman Gets Probation

Tony Licata who was arrested for “pinning down and fondling a foreign exchange student living at his home”  (unlawful restraint) was sentenced (see article below). The article on WFAA.com has been removed.


Licata Plea Bargains for sentence of 24 months probation and a $386 fine.

October 21, 2009 Colleyville, Texas

Tony Licata former Place 2 Colleyville City Councilman was sentenced yesterday to 24 months probation for unlawfully restraining a teenage foreign ex-change student at his home last year.  Licata was instructed to continue private counseling.  If Licata completes his probation term his conviction will be set aside.

The original arrests warrants the victim’s therapist had first reported the incident to police.  The student was 17 when the incident took place at the Licata home.

The official rendition of the event had Licata having brief contact with the victim in the bedroom when Licata threw her on the bed after “hugging her and fondling her breast.”

He kissed here on the neck and shoulders then apologized for his actions and let the girl leave.

The DA’s office arranged for the victim to call Licata’s cell telephone while being recorded. On the call Licata said he had been instructed not to call her but he was concerned about her welfare and would visit with his wife to determine how best to look after the girl.

Reportedly the foreign exchange officials responsible for the program notified the U.S. State Department and Licata was removed as a volunteer and barred from hosting future students.

Nelson Thibodeaux, Editor
© 2000-2008 Local News Only.com™
Copyright – All rights reserved
Published by Local Net Com, Inc.
2009 May: Colleyville Councilman Accused of Fondling Exchange Student
2009 Oct 20: Ex-Colleyville councilman sentenced for unlawful restraint