Thursday, October 4, 2007

FL - Police: Fla. boy, 13, killed his 8-year-old brother because he ate dessert, picked scab

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My Lord! What is going on with this world, where this occurs? Ten years or less ago, you never heard of this on the news. Now it's almost a daily occurrence. What is going on? Why are kids being charged as adults? Why do kids need lawyers?

10/04/2007

ORLANDO — A 13-year-old choked and beat his 8-year-old brother to death because the younger boy ate a dessert and the older one worried he would be blamed, authorities said Wednesday.

Demetrius Key was arrested on first-degree murder. The boys' mother, Tangela Key, told police she was visiting a cousin nearby and left him in charge of Levares Key and other younger siblings Saturday.

A neighbor told investigators she heard four loud bangs, followed by 10 minutes of quiet and then more commotion, according to an Orange County Sheriff's Office news release.

Demetrius Key went to the cousin's house and told his mother his brother was "passed out," the sheriff's office said. The younger boy was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Demetrius Key initially said he hit his brother with a metal shelf support, investigators said. After investigators searched the house, he said he used a broom handle, the sheriff's office said.

He then told the detective he punched the boy, choked him and banged his head on the floor, according to an affidavit.

"Demetrius offered that Levares upset him by eating a dessert that (he) was not to have eaten," Detective Appling Wells wrote. "He also advised Levares upset him by picking a scab and causing it to bleed.

"Demetrius said he feared Levares would blame both circumstances on him and tell his mother he had struck him and eaten the dessert."

The sheriff's office would not say what the dessert was.

Orange County Medical Examiner Dr. Jan Garavaglia ruled the death a homicide from closed head injuries.

Tangela Key does not have a listed telephone number. The sheriff's office did not immediately know whether Demetrius Key had an attorney.


GA - As Wisely Crafted as a Concrete Canoe - Fighting Georgia's Sex Offender Law

View the article here | HB-1059 Lawsuit | Litigation News

In the latest incarnation of "tough on crime" political posturing, legislatures across the country are in a race to see who can most thoroughly condemn and ostracize those convicted of sex crimes, without seeking real solutions to the problem.

The result: a flood of new measures that are more political circus than serious lawmaking. Indianapolis recently prohibited people on the registry from being present in many areas of the city. Hillsborough County, Florida passed an ordinance prohibiting sex offenders from using hurricane shelters. In Missouri, legislators are considering a law to prevent sex offenders from keeping lottery winnings.

The latest trend is residence restrictions: laws that typically prohibit people convicted of sex crimes from living within 1,000 feet of schools and daycare centers. At least 27 states and numerous municipalities now have them even though there is no evidence that residence restrictions prevent child molestation.

Many in law enforcement strongly oppose sex offender residence restrictions because they do not prevent sex crimes and drive serious offenders underground. Soon after Iowa implemented its sex offender residence law, for example, there was a nearly 300 percent increase in the number of absconders from Iowa's registry.

Georgia's Sex Offender Law
Last year, Georgia sought to use residence restrictions to drive its 12,000 registered sex offenders out of the state. The Georgia Legislature passed HB 1059, a law that made it nearly impossible for a registered sex offender to live or work anywhere in Georgia. In addition to prohibiting sex offenders from living near schools and daycare centers, the new law forbade sex offenders from living near churches, swimming pools, and—most significantly—school bus stops.

The intent of the law, as repeatedly declared by its sponsors, was to banish sex offenders from Georgia. Moreover, HB 1059, unlike other states' laws, applied to everyone on the registry, from serious offenders to teens whose only crime was consensual sex with other teens, to hospice patients in nursing homes. In June 2006, law enforcement officials across the state started preparations for the mass, forced eviction of thousands of people.

SCHR Files Suit
After receiving hundreds of calls and letters from people on the verge of banishment from the state, the Southern Center for Human Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia filed suit to prevent HB 1059 from being enforced.

Eight plaintiffs were named in the complaint, including Wendy Whitaker, who was convicted of sodomy for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old boy when she was 17 (Both were sophomores in high school at the time). Another plaintiff was Janet Allison, a mother of five convicted of being "party to a crime of statutory rape" for permitting her 15-year-old daughter's teenage boyfriend to live with the family after her daughter became pregnant. A third plaintiff was Jeffery York, a gay teen from rural north Georgia. York is on the registry for having consensual oral sex with his 15-year-old boyfriend when he was 17.

Whitaker, Allison, York, and thousands of others on the registry came within 48 hours of eviction before Federal District Court Judge Clarence Cooper granted SCHR’s motion to enjoin the most onerous part of the residence restriction law: the prohibition against living within 1,000 feet of a school bus stop. To date, the school bus stop provision has not been enforced. In addition, SCHR has obtained court orders prohibiting the eviction of patients from nursing homes and hospice care facilities.

The Court recently ruled on the State's motion to dismiss the case. Some claims—most notably those dealing with restrictions around churches—were dismissed, but the lawsuit survived the motion largely intact. In a strongly worded opinion rejecting the bulk of the State's arguments, the Court made clear that this lawsuit will have its day in court.

Absent a final ruling from the Court, however, the other provisions of HB 1059 are being enforced and people on the registry continue to be evicted from their homes. Many are being prosecuted under the provision of HB 1059 that makes it illegal (and punishable by 10-30 years in prison) for a sex offender to be homeless. Efforts to remove Wendy Whitaker from the registry have failed. She is currently being prosecuted for allegedly residing in a home within 1,000 feet of a daycare center. If convicted, she faces a minimum of 10 years imprisonment.

In our challenge to Georgia's flawed sex offender law, SCHR has gained widespread public support. Newspaper editorial boards now uniformly criticize HB 1059's overreach. The Rome News Tribune opined that HB 1059 was "turning the state into a laughing stock." The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer called HB 1059 "about as wisely crafted as a concrete canoe." We agree. The law has given the public a false sense of security and trampled on the civil rights of thousands of Georgians—while doing nothing to protect children from sexual abuse.


IL - Rep. Rush's son fired in prison sex scandal

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10/02/2007

A son of U.S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) has been fired from his job with the Illinois prison system for allegedly having sex with female inmates, the Sun-Times has learned.

Jeffrey M. Rush, 41, could face criminal charges for his actions, sources familiar with his dismissal said. The state Corrections Department recently sent findings of an internal investigation about Jeffrey Rush to prosecutors in two counties where the sex acts allegedly took place. Charges have not been filed.

Gov. Blagojevich's administration hired Jeffrey Rush in May 2003. An administration list obtained by the Sun-Times indicates that Rep. Rush, who represents the South Side and southwest suburbs, helped Jeffrey Rush get hired.

The state terminated Jeffrey Rush from his $54,408-a-year job as assistant supervisor of security at the Fox Valley Adult Transition Center in Aurora on Sept. 10.

On a given day, the facility houses about 120 female prisoners nearing release. The inmates often leave to attend work, school or counseling, and can be awarded temporary release passes for good behavior.

Between April and June of this year, Jeffrey Rush allegedly met and had sex with "at least two" inmates who were granted passes, one source said. Jeffrey Rush isn't accused of behaving inappropriately while he was at the transition center, sources said.

Jeffrey Rush had been on paid leave since June 22.

"He was put on leave promptly when the department got information about potential problems," Corrections Department spokesman Derek Schnapp said. "Upon completion of an internal investigation, he was terminated and the findings were referred to the appropriate law enforcement agencies."

It was unclear, however, exactly when the allegations against Jeffrey Rush became known to Blagojevich. A legislative source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Sun-Times that the governor's office was aware since at least last year of the "problems" Jeffrey Rush faced.

Blagojevich has a close political bond to Jeffrey Rush's father, who had "asked the administration to be patient" with Jeffrey Rush, the legislative source said.

Attempts to reach Jeffrey Rush were unsuccessful. Rep. Rush declined to answer questions about whether he intervened in his son's hiring. The congressman also would not say if he discussed the allegations with administration officials.

"As a father, I am deeply disturbed and saddened by the allegations against my son Jeffrey," Rep. Rush said in a statement. "I fully support him during these difficult times . . . Throughout my life, the welfare of those on various ends of the criminal justice system has been a passionate concern of mine."

Any Corrections Department employee who has sex with inmates could violate a state law that makes such contact a felony punishable by up to five years in prison.
- And do you think he will get this? Nope! You watch!

The crime of custodial sexual misconduct bars any "employee of a penal system" from engaging in "sexual conduct or sexual penetration with a person who is in the custody of that penal system." The law says it is irrelevant whether the sex was consensual because prisoners are "deemed incapable of consent."

Disclosure of Jeffrey Rush's termination is prompting a call for Blagojevich to explain the circumstances behind his hiring. Federal authorities have been investigating Blagojevich's hiring practices since 2005.

"This is unacceptable, especially in a position like this. Any time you're dealing with a public-trust position or a more sensitive position like the Department of Corrections, you have to have people with the highest integrity," said Sen. John Millner (R-Carol Stream). "There should be an investigation into the hiring of this individual."

The Corrections Department vetted Jeffrey Rush the same as other hires, Schnapp said. All prison employees undergo criminal background checks.

Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff confirmed Rep. Rush persuaded the administration to hire his son, who had "both law enforcement and supervisory experience."

Ottenhoff said the governor's office gave Rep. Rush "a courtesy call to notify him that Jeffrey was being terminated" after an internal Corrections Department probe yielded its findings.


OH - Two Tallmadge teens charged in hazing incident

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10/04/2007

Two Tallmadge teens were charged with rape-related charges for a hazing incident that occurred earlier this year at Tallmadge High School during football practice.

A 16-year-old was charged with delinquency by rape, a felony, and hazing, a misdemeanor. A 17-year-old was charged with delinquency of complicity to rape, a felony, and hazing.

The two were arrested Wednesday and appeared in Summit County Juvenile Court today. Tallmadge School officials declined comment on the case through a school spokeswoman and referred all questions to the police.

The 16-year-old is an 11th grader and a defensive tackle for the Blue Devil football team.

If convicted of rape he could be held in a youth detention facility until he is 21 years old.


IL - High school football hazing incident


VA - Admitted child molester (COP) gets 45 years -- all suspended

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Because he's a cop! That is why! Total BS! MAJOR SLAP ON THE WRIST HERE! Protecting the "Good Ole' Boys!"

10/04/2007

NEWPORT - A former Newport News police officer pleaded guilty Thursday to six counts of indecent liberties with children under 14, getting a 45-year prison sentence -- with all 45 years suspended.

Randolph Drew Smith, now 60, admitted to three counts of fondling a teenage boy in 1982 and three counts of doing the same with a different teenage boy between 1994 and 1995. All counts occurred while he was a police officer.

According to a detailed summary provided at the Newport News Circuit Court hearing Wednesday, five of the incidents involved, in part, Smith bringing the boys to climax while they were lying with him in his bed -- and once suggesting that one of the boys do the same to him.

The Newport News Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, in a plea agreement, agreed that Smith would get no time in prison in return for pleading guilty to the crime.

The plea agreement, accepted wholly by Circuit Court Judge Timothy S. Fisher, also requires Smith to get supervised probation for two years, maintain good behavior for 15 years, have no direct contact with either victim or "any juvenile males" aside from relatives who are supervised by another adult.

He must also submit a sample of his DNA to the state, get treatment in a sex offender program and register with the state's sex offender list.


ND - Sex-offender parents pose dilemma for schools

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10/03/2007

Boards debate how much access to school grounds they should allow

STEELE - School boards across the country are debating how to deal with parents like Cody Mittleider. The 28-year-old married father of three young children spent a year in prison for a 2005 rape conviction, but has since worked to become a respected member of the community.

He quit drinking, attends counseling, got a job at a potato farm and joined the volunteer fire department in this central North Dakota town of about 760 residents.

But as a convicted sex offender, Mittleider, is not allowed to attend his children's school programs or athletic events, pending a Steele School Board decision.

"It would punish my family more than it would punish me," he said. "I want to be a father — not a criminal. If I can't go to the school, I can't be the father I want to be."

A new state law, which took effect Aug. 1, allows sex offenders to be on school property if they are there to vote or attend a public meeting. It does not give them permission to attend extracurricular school activities. That decision rests with school boards.

School boards in most states now have policies dealing with sex-offender parents in schools, though they vary by state and district, said Cullen Casey, an attorney for the Alexandria-Va.-based National School Boards Association.

Some districts, especially larger ones, often do not have the resources or time to deal with decisions about parents who are registered sex offenders, so they are banned altogether, Casey said.

'It's an issue of protection'
In Fargo, North Dakota's largest city, the district adopted a no-tolerance approach before the state law was enacted that regulates sex offenders on school property.

"Right now, they are simply not allowed in," Superintendent Rick Buresh said. "It's not a matter of punishment — it's an issue of protection. I am somewhat sympathetic if somebody's rights get pinched a little, but safety comes first."

The Mandan (N.D.) School District, adopted a no-tolerance approach last month that bans convicted sex offenders from schools even if they are parents.

"Right now, the safest thing to do is err on the side of kids and just say no," said Wilfred Volesky, the district's superintendent.

"If we need to take the policy and soften it, we can," he said.

Volesky said the new policy already has allowed the district to ban a convicted sex offender from attending high school football games. That person was not a parent of a student at the district, but parents of two of the district's 3,262 students are registered sex offenders, Volesky said.

Considering case-by-case basis
Other districts are considering allowing school officials to make the call on a case-by-case basis.

Shannon Priem, a spokeswoman for the Oregon School Boards Association, said state law there requires background checks on volunteers who accompany students on field trips and other activities. There is nothing in the law to address sex-offending parents who want to attend activities at schools.

Her group, which represents 197 school districts, "strongly favors school boards making local decisions," she said. "A school board has to be responsible to its particular culture and community."

School principals in Georgia's 180 districts typically decide whether a sex-offending parent is allowed on school property, said Laura Reilly, a spokeswoman for the Georgia School Boards Association.

Steele Superintendent Ken Miller said the school board tabled a motion this month to adopt a policy dealing with sex offenders whose children attend school in the district. At present, Mittleider is the only one, Miller said

Later this month, the North Dakota School Board Association is slated to discuss the issue of sex offenders in schools, and how districts are dealing with it. Miller said the Steele School Board likely will craft its policy after that meeting.

Kathy Benson, president of the Steele board and a mother of four, said keeping the schools safe is a priority for parents. She said the sex offender policy has not been a major issue in the community, but board members will give it their full attention.

"We want to be cautious and we want to be very careful and take a good look at it," Benson said.


MN - Judge won't let Craig withdraw guilty plea

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10/04/2007

Senator could appeal, or relinquish seat as he'd earlier stated

MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota judge on Thursday rejected Sen. Larry Craig’s bid to withdraw his guilty plea in an airport sex sting, a major setback in Craig’s effort to clear his name and hang onto his Senate seat.

“Because the defendant’s plea was accurate, voluntary and intelligent, and because the conviction is supported by the evidence ... the Defendant’s motion to withdraw his guilty plea is denied,” Hennepin County Judge Charles Porter wrote.

Craig can appeal Porter’s ruling, but it wasn’t immediately clear if he would.

When the charges first surfaced, Craig said he would resign by Sept. 30. But then he decided to attempt to reopen his legal case, and said he would stay at least until he found out whether he could withdraw his plea.

Craig has maintained his innocence and said that his actions in the airport bathroom were misconstrued by the police officer who arrested him.

Craig was arrested June 11 by an airport police officer in a bathroom sex sting. The officer said Craig had looked into his bathroom stall, and tapped his foot and moved his hand under the divider in a way that suggested he was looking for a sexual partner.

Judge: Craig's misgivings not police's fault
Craig denied that in an interview with the officer after his arrest. But he pleaded guilty on Aug. 8. He later said he “panicked” in entering his plea, believing that it would keep the matter quiet. The Idaho Statesman had been holding back an article on rumors about his sexuality, and Craig said in court papers that he feared the arrest would trigger the story.

Porter said that was not a good reason to withdraw the plea. Any pressure Craig was under “was entirely perceived by the defendant and was not a result of any action by the police, the prosecutor, or the court,” he said.

The Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call reported Craig’s arrest and guilty plea on Aug. 27. Fellow Republican senators soon called on Craig to resign, and conservative groups, which had given him near-perfect approval ratings, abandoned him quickly. Craig had been elected to Congress from Idaho in 1980 and was in his third term in the Senate.

Within days Craig said he would resign by Sept. 30. He then changed his mind, saying he would stay in office until the legal case was finished.

Prosecutor Christopher Renz had accused Craig of “politicking and game playing” with the legal system, and argued that Craig was urged to hire an attorney and had plenty of time to think about his plea.


WI - GHT boy enters plea in sexual assault case

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Well, this kids life just ended. This will haunt him for the rest of his life. So much for PROTECTING KIDS!!!

10/04/2007

WEST OLIVE — A 14-year-old Grand Haven Township boy pleaded no contest Wednesday to five felony counts related to the sexual assault of an 18-year-old Grand Haven Township woman on June 2, foregoing a trial schedule to begin next week.

In a deal reached with Judge Mark Feyen in Ottawa County Juvenile Court Wednesday morning, Fathi Cullen is likely to be placed in a residential treatment program in Iowa, followed by probation. His formal sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 18.

According to the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department, Cullen, age 13 at the time, entered an 18-year-old woman's residence on Crooked Tree Lane at Riven Haven Village mobile home park on June 2 and sexually assaulted her. During the five-hour search for Cullen that afternoon, police said he also attempted to sexually assault two other girls, ages 12 and 14, in Hofma Park, west of Forest Park Drive.

The boy faces separate charges in connection to the second incident.

Cullen, the son of Antonio and Saundra Cullen, who lived in the same mobile home park as the victim at the time of the incident, was designated as an adult and faced possible adult sentencing or delayed sentencing. He instead chose to plead no contest to charges of attempted first-degree criminal sexual conduct, two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, first-degree home invasion and interfering with electronic communications.
- He was 13 and is now 14 for gods sake. HE IS NOT AN ADULT!!!

In addition to sentencing imposed by the judge, Cullen will be placed on the sex offender's registry. Since he is 14 years old, Cullen will appear only on a private sex offenders list available only to law enforcement and court officials. Once he turns 17, he will be entered on the public list, and remain on the registry for 25 years.

"I'm glad he's entered a plea for the victim's sake," said Assistant Prosecutor Jennifer Kuiper, adding that testifying at a trial would have been difficult for the victim. "She's gone through a lot."

Kuiper confirmed the woman will make a statement at Cullen's sentencing.

According to Ottawa County casework services manager Paul Lindemuth, Cullen will likely be sent to Woodward Academy, located 30 miles northwest of Des Moines, Iowa, for residential treatment. Lindemuth said Ottawa County frequently uses Woodward's program.

Most youth spend about one year in the program, but Cullen's stay will depend on his progress and treatment plan, Lindemuth said.

Cullen's attorney, Leonard Mungo, said the boy's parents were content with the agreement. He also said the case highlights the state's lack of help for foster children like Fathi.

"If there's any statement this case can make to the world, it's how the state has invested too late and too little to the children's needs," Mungo said. "Fathi is going to get the treatment he needs, but much later than he needed it. It's an issue that's larger than Fathi or the woman he injured."

Meanwhile, Kuiper declined to comment on the terms of Wednesday's deal between Mungo and Judge Feyen.

"They're serious charges," Kuiper said. "They'll be on (Cullen's) record forever."


WI - Sex offender wants to stay put

View the article here

10/04/2007

Man may be forced to move for 18th time unless judge lets him live within 1,000 feet of park.

MOUNT CLEMENS -- After packing up and moving 17 times in the past year and a half, David Randazzo just wants to settle down. But as a registered sex offender, he may have to make it 18 times.

That is, unless Macomb County Circuit Judge John C. Foster grants his request to live closer than 1,000 feet from a public park -- a distance required under Michigan's sex offender law.

Randazzo, 52, of Mount Clemens said he didn't know Lawndale Park was nearby when he moved into his apartment just over a month ago. The apartment is actually 575 feet away from the park, he said.

The fourth-degree offender filed a motion for relief in hopes of staying in his apartment, because "I really need a place to live. I've been through hell," he said.

"I don't go to parks. I don't do anything. I sit at home and watch TV. I'm not a threat to anybody."

Randazzo pleaded no contest to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in July 2003 for fondling a 13-year-old relative. A no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt, but is treated as such for sentencing purposes. Randazzo, who claims the incident never happened, plans to represent himself Tuesday, when he appears before Foster.

It's a request that Macomb County Assistant Prosecutor Rebecca Oster hasn't seen very often. She recalled one case within the past three years in which a sex offender requested relief of the 1,000 feet restriction from a school. The man fell under the rule's exception, allowing him to remain in his home because he had lived there for years before conviction.

Oster, who works in the sex crimes unit, said sex offenders normally comply with the restrictions, or aren't getting caught.

"They are not allowed to reside within 1,000 feet of a park, school or place where children would be congregating," said Oster, who's handling the Randazzo case. "It's to protect children. The law is clear. He shouldn't be living where he is living. It should be an open-and-shut case."

Although Lee Strang, a visiting law professor at Michigan State University, said he understands the restrictions are in place to ensure public safety, he also sees the hardships they place on sex offenders.

"Given that these restrictions are so onerous, you could see why offenders would commonly feel they can't live where they want to," he said. "It would be surprising if sex offenders weren't asking for relief constantly."

First-time violators of the sex offender restriction are guilty of a misdemeanor that's punishable by up to a year in jail and/or up to a $1,000 fine.

Repeat violators of that restriction are guilty of a felony and face up to two years in jail and/or up to a $2,000 fine.

While some people -- including Randazzo -- feel the restrictions violate sex offenders' constitutional rights because it limits where they can live, others say crimes that involve children come with heavy consequences.

"We have to protect our kids," said Katie Connell, a Clinton Township child forensic interviewer who handles sexual assault cases as a consultant for state and federal law enforcement agencies.

"He was an adult and should've known better. It's unfortunate that he's had to live 17 places, but at the same token, he's committed a crime on a child who'll have to live with that the rest of their life.

"(Sexual offenders) have to pay the price."

However, Randazzo said he's been punished for more than four years and wants to get on with his life. He said he's been forced to move so often out of fear, because when his neighbors find him on the Sex Offender Registry, they threaten him and start fights.

Randazzo said his probation officer, who is required to inspect his residence each time he moves, informed him that he was in violation of the restriction.

"I've been punished enough. If I was a pedophile, yeah, OK, I can see that," said Randazzo, whose five-year probation will end in August. "I'm going to tell Judge Foster that 'you know what, your honor, I respect you, I respect the court, but it's too costly. I'm just not going to do it.'

"This judge can put me in jail."


WI - Sex offender plan irks landlord - He vows action if ordinance restricting housing is passed

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10/03/2007

Waukesha - Ron Becker, a local lord of low-income housing, isn't quite sure how he'll respond if laws are enacted here that tightly limit where known sex offenders can live.

Becker said Wednesday that he might complain to the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin about the city violating the rights of sex offenders.

Or, Becker said, he may do something more audacious, maybe spray paint "sex offender" repeatedly on a van and drive it up and down W. Main St. while shouting through a loudspeaker his displeasure with the new law.

"Over the years, I got a reputation that I could be a time bomb ready to go off," Becker said. "When I was younger, I did things like that to make a point. Now that I'm 66 . . . the ACLU might get a call."

Becker watched silently as the Common Council late Tuesday directed City Attorney Curt Meitz to draft a sex offender ordinance. Aldermen are expected to fill in the measure with details about where sex offenders can live, possibly at the first November meeting of the Ordinance and License Committee.

Many blame Becker for concentrating sex offenders who are fresh out of prison in Waukesha, an accusation of which he is well aware. The state Department of Corrections, which works with Becker and several other landlords to find housing for the sex offenders it supervises, reports that this week, 357 registered sex offenders reside in Waukesha County and about 186 are in Waukesha. In the city, 97 are under state supervision. In the county, 138 are under supervision.

Many were calling Waukesha a "dumping ground" for sex offenders, but the tolerance level hit a tipping point when the state placed sexual predator Dennis Marth into a single-family home along well-kept Buena Vista Ave.

Ald. Randy Radish, who serves downtown and its bordering neighborhoods, led the charge to quickly place controls on where sex offenders could live, which meant reigning in Becker and others.

Taxpayer rent subsidies

The Department of Corrections reported that over a six-month period ending Jan. 31, it paid Becker $14,933 in rent subsidies to house released prisoners who included sex offenders.

Ald. Carrol Waldenberger, who heads the Ordinance and License Committee, said the city must find a way to stop the sale of undervalued properties to those who want to create sex offender housing.

Two property firms that bear Becker's name hold nine residential buildings, City Hall records say. Another firm that Becker said he has a financial interest in owns the Buena Vista Ave. and two other Waukesha properties.

Becker said he has sold off most of his holdings, except for the Waukesha House on W. Main St., to land contracts in which he holds the mortgages.

If the city's passes a sex offender ordinance, it will one day regret the move, he said.

Looking to others

Waldenberger has asked aldermen to look at Franklin and Grafton sex offender ordinances for guidance. Those laws prohibit sex offenders from living within 500 to 1,000 feet of each other to prevent concentrations that can hurt the property values.

Regulations also can prevent more than one sex offender from living in one residential property. That measure takes away the financial incentive of having multiple offenders in rooming houses and homes.

More restrictive measures include prohibiting property owners from renting to sex offenders who are under state supervision programs and not allowing registered sex offenders who are not from Waukesha to set up housekeeping here.

"Do you think they can get away with that?" Becker asked about the proposed restrictions. "Are they (aldermen) looking at the disadvantages?"

Confining the concentration of sex offenders to two or three neighborhoods avoids placing them into 15 or more neighborhoods, he said.

Violating the civil rights of sex offenders will bring the ACLU into the game, and "make the ground shudder under these municipalities' feet," Becker warned.

ACLU of Wisconsin Executive Director Chris Ahmuty could not be reached for comment.


OH - Violent offender notification being considered by state

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Here we go, another law in a childs name. This should be illegal. You humanize something and attach a childs name to it, who is going to not pass it? If it was a law to kill you that was called "ANGELS LAW" people would pass it, because it's for the kids. This must stop, and we MUST go back to naming laws like we always have "HB-XXXX" or "SB-XXXX". This is just wrong! They will wipe out your rights eventually, in some childs name. Pure exploitation if you ask me.

10/03/2007

COLUMBUS -- Robert Francis picked up a newspaper one day earlier this year and read about a sex offender who had been released from prison and was living on the south side of town.

It was the same man who had murdered Francis' 15-year-old daughter more than 30 years ago. Francis had no idea the man was even up for parole.

"We weren't notified," he said. "... I think that that victim's family has a right to be in the parole hearings of these criminals. ... Where it involves murder and rape and certain crimes, I think the victim's families should be able to speak out."

Legislation being offered by two Columbus-area lawmakers would do just that, requiring victims of violent crimes and their families to be automatically notified of coming parole hearings and expanding their rights to participate in the process.

"Family members and victims deserve a voice in parole conferences so that intelligent, informed decisions can be made regarding parole," said Sen. Steve Stivers, a Republican from Columbus.

Stivers and Rep. Kevin Bacon, also a Republican from the Columbus area, unveiled their legislation during a press conference at the Statehouse Tuesday. They're calling it "Roberta's Law" after Francis' daughter, who was brutally raped and murdered in 1974.
- Let's make a law to remove all rights from all citizens and call it "Eva's Law!" after Hitlers wifes name.

Bacon said the legislation would require notification to victims' families when violent felony offenders are being transferred or considered for parole. The bill also would require five years of post-release control and the creation of a publicly accessible database of such offenders for 10 years after their release.

Francis said his wife, who died several years ago, wanted to be a part of any parole hearing involving their daughter's killer. But he never received notification when the inmate was up for parole and released.

"I would have wanted to be there," he said. "... I don't think that the man should be out on the street. I think he is a very great danger.... Nothing will bring back my daughter. If it can stop what happened to somebody else like her ... it's certainly worth the effort."

Additionally, the bills (comparable versions will be introduced in the state House and Senate) would expand sex offender registration and community notification requirements to cover so-called sexually motivated killers. A loophole in existing state law allows offenders of convicted voluntary manslaughter (but whose crimes were sexual in nature) to bypass the community registration and notification process.

The issue was brought to lawmakers' attention by the family of Barbara Sue Caulley, a 14-year-old who was raped and murdered in 1988. Her killer was convicted of voluntary manslaughter; if released, he would not be classified as a sexually oriented offender.

Copyright Wooster Republican Printing Co, LLC. 1995-2006. All Rights Reserved.


NY - Beauty Queen Takes on Predators, Spammers

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Like I guessed, money is involved. If this lady was about helping kids, this $4.95 a month service fee, would be FREE! But, if the free browser does what it says it does, then it's good, IMO. They also need to teach kids how to use IM and chatroom software, as well as blocking adult porn images from Google, Yahoo, Live, and other search services, as well as videos from YouTube, etc. It is a start though.

10/04/2007

Here she is, Miss America, and her free, kid-safe Web browser

It's a sign of the times: The current Miss America doesn't want to save the world from hunger or work for world peace. No, she wants to help keep the kids safe on the Internet.

Lauren Nelson, 20, will help launch the new Miss America Kid-Safe Browser today, which allows access to some 10,300 sites that were pre-approved by the Miss America Organization and the Children's Educational Network as kid friendly. The software has parental lock features, including blocking other browsers on the computer, and the ability to add access to other sites. If Junior tries to surf outside the approved sites, an animated version of Lauren Nelson, complete with tiara, says: "This Website is not on the master list. Please ask Mom or Dad to add this site for you," according to a published report.

It may seem a little kitschy unless you know Nelson's inspiration for the safe browsing effort. At age 13, she and some friends participated in an Internet chat room at a sleepover, and soon one of them was receiving emails with inappropriate pictures from an online predator. Frightened, Nelson and her friends told their parents, who reported it to the police.

Meanwhile, the browser version of Nelson can read kids' emails aloud, and offers online advice, safety tips, education, and trivia. There's also a premium edition of the browser that comes with email and some educational features for $4.95 per month.

Oh -- and parents can program Nelson to remind the kids to feed the Labradoodle or take out the trash.

— Kelly Jackson Higgins, Senior Editor, Dark Reading


TX - Former Carter County Sheriff's Deputy Faces Molestation Charges but Rejects Plea Offer

View the article here

Video available at the site.

10/04/2007

A former Carter County sheriff's deputy and youth minister faces charges of lewd acts with a child. He appeared in front of a district judge Wednesday and demanded a jury trial.

The 34-year-old was arrested back in June after a female minor disclosed information to a counselor. Since the victim in the case is related to one of District Attorney Craig Ladd's employees, the case was turned over to Bryan County Assistant District Attorney, Julie Naifeh.

In June, Ray Allen Haworth was arraigned in district court facing five counts of lewd acts with a minor. The charges were against repeated sex crimes against a female victim over the course of the past year. As Ardmore Police investigated the case, a second female victim was identified. Bryan County Assistant District Attorney, Julie Naifeh, says Wednesday's court appearance didn't quite turn out the way she hoped.

Naifeh says, "The defendant rejected the plea offer and has demanded a jury trial and Judge Walker has set that for October 22nd at 9 am. Naifeh says if Haworth is convicted of the 5 lewd act charges, he faces up to 20 years for each charges.