Tuesday, November 13, 2007

ND - A Woman Who Falsely Accused Eight Different Men Of Rape Doesn’t Have To Go To Jail

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Say what? In this day and age just the accusation of being a sexual predator - and make no mistake, rapists are considered sexual predators - can turn a man’s life upside down. It can crush relationships, devastate families, and destroy careers. And if an arrest and conviction follow an accusation then the man has to register as a sex offender and tell his neighbors all about it wherever he goes. It’s the modern Scarlet Letter

In short, you’re runied as a functional human being for the rest of your life

I’ve long held that a woman who falsely accuses a man of rape with the intent of doing the type of harm I just described ahould be held to the same sentence the man would have gotten for the rape. Harsh? Maybe, but it would make a woman think twice before pulling a stunt like this:

A woman who made eight separate false claims of rape or sexual assault has been spared jail.

Gemma Gregory, 28, accused seven different men over a six-year period.

Former boyfriends were subjected to police questioning and DNA testing to clear their names.

Not once. Not even twice. Eight times she falsely accused men of rape. And she did it with malicious intent. From the police investigator on the last case:

‘She wanted him put in prison. She kept this going for a long time.’ He said that some of the earlier ‘suspects’ had been arrested and had intimate samples taken as part of the inquiries.

This time around she got a year’s prison sentence after she was charged with the falsification. A year? If those police officers hadn’t known about her history of lying about such things that could have cost the man she accused much, much more that that.

The sentence was suspended because she has “mental health problems.” You think? Personally, I don’t think it should have been suspended. Prisons are chock full of people with “mental health problems.” Why should she be any different?

I may be stuck on stupid with this one but she - or any woman who falsely accuses a man of rape - should do at least the minimum time a rapist would do if convicted. That doesn’t mean if the man is found not guilty or the case is nolle prossed for lack of evidence. I mean if it can be shown that she lied with the intent to ruin a man - well, you know the rest

Maybe someday we’ll have a politician come along who will address an issue like this

Heh. Never happen

TX - Former Jonestown officer pleads guilty to indecency with a child

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Stephen Burgess will be sentenced next month for two counts, could spend 10 years in prison.

GEORGETOWN — A former Jonestown police officer could face up to 10 years in prison after he pleaded guilty today to two counts of indecency with a child.

Stephen Burgess, 48, was arrested in March on charges that he forced a 6-year-old girl to touch his genitals on several occasions over the span of seven years, beginning in 1996.

The plea agreement with prosecutors calls for Burgess to serve 10 years in prison. He could be eligible for parole in five years, and after his prison term he would be on probation for eight years. He will be sentenced next month in District Judge Burt Carnes' court.

Williamson County District Attorney John Bradley said that judges usually add strict conditions to sex offenders' probation terms, like limiting distance with schools or children.
- So is he going to be on the sex offender registry for life like everyone else?

Bradley said that if Burgess violates his probation, a 10-year prison sentence could be added by the judge.

Burgess worked at the Jonestown Police Department from 2005 until he resigned in March. He was also a Travis County sheriff's deputy but quit in 1999, according to Roger Wade, a spokesman for the department.

GA - Big crowd turns out for justice forum

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There was standing room only at the Juvenile Justice Awareness Forum held at the Fayette County Library on Saturday, Oct. 27. The forum was sponsored by the Fayette County NAACP Youth Council and well attended by over 150 youth, adults and guests. The opening welcomed was presented by Youth President, Maurice Jeffries II a senior at Sandy Creek. Biahnca Blood, a senior and chair of the Juvenile Justice Committee planned and moderated the forum. Other members who volunteered to assure the success of the forum were Darius Johnson, Jonathan Owens, Shataria Traylor and Allison Ragins and a host of other volunteers and teens from various organizations. Advance questions were orchestrated by our Youth Council members to assure their concerns were presented to the panelists and other teens in attendance asked countless questions about laws and their Rights.

The forum began with a presentation on “The Seven Deadly Sins” by Jimmonique Rodgers, Juvenile Appeals Attorney and Georgia Public Defender. She carefully defined the seven; murder, rape, armed robbery, aggravated child molestation, aggravated sodomy, aggravated sexual battery and voluntary manslaughter. She also advised young people of their rights. Her presentation was followed by Clayton County Chief Assistant District Attorney, Todd E. Naugle who covered Gang Violence Causes, Preventions and Consequences with a question and answer session.

The highlight of the forum was a presentation on “Is Justice Really Blind” by Attorney B.J. Bernstein, defense lawyer for Genarlow Wilson who was incarcerated at age 17 charged with aggravated sexual molestation of a minor and released from prison cleared of all charges last Friday. Attorney Bernstein admits Wilson’s punishment did not fit the crime and clearly stated she does not condone any form of sexual misconduct by anyone. She came into the audience and asked challenging questions of the young people who listened attentively to her very powerful message. Her presentation was followed by a panel discussion with panelists; Magistrate Judge Daphne Walker, Juvenile Court Judge Tarey Schell, Fayette County School Assistant Superintendent, Sam Sweat, Fayetteville Police Department, Major Kevin Gooding, Juvenile Attorney Jimmonique Rodgers, Attorneys Robert Daniel and Dorian Murry. The panelists defined laws governing students, school safety rules and laws, Designated Felony Act, drivers license restrictions, curfews, what constitutes school gangs and some of the consequences and punishment for offenses. Question and answer session were engaged as discussions.

The final speaker was Brian Hicks who told his real life story of continuous incarcerations and his life as a “changed man”. Hick’s reinforcement panelists on prevention were attorney Robert Daniel and attorney Dorian Murry who responded to some of the questions from the audience.

A laser-like focus best describes the interest level of youth who attended and remained attentive at the forum. Other professionals and parents alike expressed interests in having continuous informational/ educational forums to help teens to remain in school, away from crime and prevent high numbers of juvenile from incarceration. In observation from questions and discussions, more prevention and alternative programs should be created to help save a generation of potentially young leaders. Recent economic statistics does show the annual cost to educate a child is $8,000 and $40,000 to incarcerate a child, an annual tax savings of $32,000 that can be applied toward prevention and alternative programs.

Special thanks to Ms. Brenda Cox and Maurice Jeffries I for soliciting support of foods from Pizza Hut, Kroger, Publix, SteviB’s Pizza, Starbucks, Chick-Fil-A, Partners Pizza II, Pies On Pizza, and This Is IT Restaurant. More than enough food was available to feed our guests.

For more information about the Fayette County NAACP Youth Council and Fayette County Adult Branch, please visit the website www.fcnaacp.org.

WI - Inside Wisconsin Sex Offender Treatment Facility

Video Follows:

WI - Tonight at 10:00: Kids Molesting Kids

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We all know sex offenders can’t work or teach in schools.

But a big I-Team investigation uncovers hundreds of convicted sex offenders in schools throughout Wisconsin.

Investigative Reporter Aaron Diamant has the exclusive report tonight, live at 10:00.

A couple months ago, Aaron Diamant got a call from a mother who just found out a kid in her child’s class was a convicted sex offender. She was absolutely livid no one gave her or other parents a heads up.

The I-Team spent weeks negotiating with the Department of Corrections, cutting through miles of red tape, trying to get an idea of how many sex offenders there are right now in Wisconsin classrooms.

It wasn’t easy, but wait till you see what the I-Team dug up.

“Our job is to protect the public as best we can, but we’re bound by the law,” Kornblum said.

Tonight, live at 10:00, you’ll see what the law lets you know and what it doesn’t.

You’ll also hear about a secret state registry, and why most of the state’s juvenile sex offenders never wind up on it.

MI - Uncle Kracker answers sex assault allegations

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Uncle Kracker knew the headlines didn't look good: "Uncle Kracker arrested on sex offense charge."

Those words were plastered on Web sites and newspapers across the land after the singer was placed behind bars in August for an incident at a North Carolina nightclub.

Coupled with Kracker's regrettable mugshot photo, with his shaggy, unkempt hair and puffy eyes that looked red from tears, the story was one of those "gotcha" moments the public seems to relish in these tabloid-obsessed times.

Kracker's eventual guilty plea to the far-lesser charge of misdemeanor assault -- down from a second-degree forcible sex offense -- didn't gain nearly as much attention as did the initial story. He received a $1,500 fine, was placed on 12-months probation and was ordered to undergo alcohol assessment.

But the original story -- which placed "Uncle Kracker" and "sex offense" in the same short sentence -- continues to leave a bad taste in the Harrison Township resident's mouth.

"There was no sexual anything involved," Kracker, born Matthew Shafer, reiterated Monday in an interview at the Emerald Theatre in Mount Clemens, where he performs his annual Thanksgiving concert next week. "I want people to know Chris Hanson didn't pop out of a back room somewhere," he said, a reference to the host of "Dateline NBC's" "To Catch a Predator" series.

So what happened? In mid-August, Kracker, 33 -- a former DJ for Kid Rock and solo star in his own right -- performed a concert in Raleigh, N.C., and threw an after-party at a club called the Ess Lounge. He says as he was making his way out of the crowded club, admittedly after "one too many Crown (Royal) and Cokes," he bumped into a 26-year-old female, which caused her to "smack" him across the face. He smacked her back, words were exchanged -- many involving the "F" word -- and Kracker left the club.

Later, the woman claimed to police she was sexually assaulted by Kracker, and alleged he placed his hand up her skirt. Kracker was arrested and was eventually released on $75,000 bond.

Kracker admits to smacking the woman, but says that's as far as it went.

"Assault is a far cry from sexual battery," says Kracker of his plea, which he says he took to avoid going to trial. "You can either wait a year, spend $150 grand, go to trial, make more of a debacle out of it, or you can get it over with."

A day after the incident, Kracker appeared on stage at Ford Field with Kenny Chesney and received a sizable round of cheers and applause from the hometown crowd.

Kracker, who is married and has three young daughters, says he regrets the incident and the fallout that it caused. But he says he's not sorry for his reaction to being struck.

"Was I right for slapping her back? I don't know, it depends on who you ask," he says. "I would probably do the same thing again, to tell you the truth. I don't see it shaking down any different than it did."

Aside from his upcoming Thanksgiving concert, Kracker is working on his fourth solo album, "Happy Hour," which is due in June.

And he says he's hoping to move beyond the incident.

"It's not the greatest thing that's ever happened to me, that's for sure," he says. "I've had better days."

MO - Former police officer is accused of sexually assaulting woman

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WAYNESVILLE -- A former Richland police Officer is charged with deviate sexual assault and sexual abuse. Court records show a judge issued a warrant for the arrest of Michael Hynes of Camdenton on Friday.

Hynes is accused of sexually assaulting a woman last month. Richland Police Chief Michael Hurney says the woman said the assault occurred outside Richland.

After receiving the complaint in early October, Hurney says he asked the Missouri State Highway Patrol to investigate. Hurney says Hynes served briefly as a probationary Richland officer. The town’s Board of Aldermen fired him on Oct. 30.

It's unclear whether the assault took place while he was on duty. Hurney says Hynes has not been with the department since he received the complaint.

CA - Woman files order against former deputy

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Another woman filed a restraining order request Wednesday against a former San Benito County Sheriff's Office deputy, who faces rape and other criminal allegations.

Three women - one his wife - have filed requests for restraining orders against Mike Rodrigues in the past 12 weeks, according to San Benito County Superior Court documents.

The latest was filed by a woman the Free Lance is not naming because she is a possible victim of domestic violence. She claimed to have lived with Rodrigues from Sept. 30 to Nov. 5, according to court documents.

In the request, the woman claimed that while she lived with Rodrigues he was "sexually aggressive with (her) several times."

The woman also claimed that on Nov. 3, Rodrigues attempted to have sex with her, to which she refused, and that he ripped her sweat pants off. When the woman used the word "rape" with Rodrigues, "he just snapped," she claimed in the request.

According to court documents, the woman claims Rodrigues has continued to call her cell phone after she moved out of his Hollister home, and is "scared to death what would happed to me if (Rodrigues) should get me by myself."

"I believe he is capable of killing me," the woman wrote in the request. "I fear for my safety and my son's safety."

The request is scheduled to be heard in court on Nov. 26.

Rodrigues had been on paid administrative leave. But Sheriff Curtis Hill announced in a statement released Thursday that the 25-year veteran is "no longer employed" by the county.

TX - How far did this federal judge go?

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A judicial council reprimanded U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent for 'inappropriate behavior' and accused him of misconduct over sexual harassment charges. But that only begins to tell the story.

The federal court employee at the center of a sexual misconduct complaint against U.S. District Judge Samuel Kent first went to her boss about the judge allegedly touching her inappropriately in 2003 — four years before the March incident that led to his reprimand by the 5th Circuit judicial council.

In mid-2003, case manager Cathy McBroom told her supervisor that the judge lured her into an office used as an exercise room and groped her, according to interviews with McBroom's friends, her mother and other sources.

But her female supervisor advised that McBroom could lose her job if she made a formal complaint, and no further action apparently was taken.

The alleged assault in March prompted McBroom to request an immediate transfer and file a judicial misconduct complaint. It resulted in a rare reprimand of the judge for sexual harassment and "inappropriate behavior" toward other employees.

For the first time, the Houston Chronicle is publishing details about the 2007 incident and other encounters based on interviews with McBroom's close friends, family and co-workers — all of whom spoke to McBroom in the hours or days after the incident.

McBroom and her attorney, Rusty Hardin, would not comment on specifics. However, Hardin told the Chronicle he is preparing a criminal complaint for federal officials.

"I believe (Kent) committed a felony under state and federal law, and we're so informing federal authorities."

Kent is barred from commenting on the investigation or the reprimand. His attorney refused a request for an interview and referred all questions to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.

This is McBroom's account of what happened in March as told to friends and her mother in conversation and in written notes:

McBroom was summoned to the judge's chambers on Friday, March 23, at about 3 p.m.

Her hands were full of legal papers when the judge — a former high school athlete who is more than 6 inches taller and at least 100 pounds heavier — asked for a hug.

She told him she didn't think that was appropriate, but reluctantly approached.

The judge grabbed Mc-Broom, pulled up her blouse and her bra and put his mouth on her breast. Then, Kent forced her head down toward his crotch.

As McBroom struggled, Kent kept telling the married mother of three what he wanted to do to her in words too graphic to publish. The papers fell to the floor. The pet bulldog Kent kept in his chambers began to bark.

The incident was interrupted by the sound of footsteps from another staff member in the corridor, and the judge loosened his grip. As she left, the judge said McBroom was a good case manager and then made suggestions about engaging in a sexual act.

McBroom ran out crying.

Reports of the incident
Later that day, McBroom called her childhood friend, Charlene Clark, a San Antonio schoolteacher. Close as sisters, the two spoke nearly every day.

Clark recently told Mc-Broom's story to the Chronicle in an exclusive interview corroborated by other sources, including McBroom's mother, Mary Ann Schopp, and Felicia Williams, a retired court employee who previously worked as the judge's case manager and is McBroom's friend.

"It was very physical, " Clark said. " If he hadn't been a judge, she would have gone to the police, and he would have been put in jail."

McBroom, Williams and at least three other women later gave statements to 5th Circuit investigators regarding Kent's alleged abuse of employees.

Judge Edith H. Jones, chief judge for the 5th Circuit, has refused comment on the investigation, referring the Chronicle to the reprimand, which includes no specifics.

On the Monday after the March 23 incident, McBroom put all the details of her allegations in a written request for immediate transfer to Houston, where she still works. In May, she filed a formal complaint against Kent.

McBroom had worked for Kent as his case manager since September 2002, when he fired his previous case manager, Williams.

Other allegations
Williams, who had worked for Kent from 1993 to 2002, said her firing came days after she apparently offended the judge with a comment she'd made about his arriving late for a hearing, though she says she was given no official reason at the time.

Williams told the Chronicle that over the years she frequently had seen Kent appear inebriated at work after long lunches with lawyer friends, was regularly asked for "hugs" and subjected to lewd remarks.

The judge said he could "service me when my husband was being treated for prostate cancer," Williams said. "He told me sexual dirty jokes, and (I) was expected to listen to his rude comments regarding other people."

Williams said she never told co-workers or even her husband about most of the comments out of loyalty to the judge — and out of fear that he would retaliate.

"I need to relay how Cathy and I felt threatened due to (Kent's) power and authority and were always concerned about our positions and knew we could be dismissed at a moment's notice," Williams said. "Since (I) no longer work for him, I feel more comfortable talking but will always feel the emotional pain."

Williams later worked at the federal courthouse in Houston until her retirement in 2006 with 33 years of U.S. government service.

McBroom, who replaced Williams, became her friend.

According to women who have spoken to the Chronicle, the first incidents of alleged harassment and unwanted physical contacts with female court employees began about a decade ago.

In fact, when McBroom reported the first incident to her supervisor in 2003, the supervisor told McBroom that other female employees had problems with the judge making dirty remarks or attempting to touch or kiss them, according to Clark and to McBroom's mother.

Though McBroom took her orders from the judge as his case manager, she also reported to a supervisor in the Galveston clerk's office.

The supervisor, who still works for Kent, did not return phone calls or respond to a note left at her home.

'Talked incredibly crudely'
Just a couple of months earlier, in January 2003, the Southern District of Texas had adopted a policy against sexual harassment. The policy, which is still in effect, says workplaces should be free of "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature" when that conduct affects employment or creates an "intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment." The same policy promises no "retaliation" against those who complain.

A spokesman for the 5th Circuit, Joseph St. Amant, said he could provide no details about how, or whether, the policy was enforced in McBroom's case.

Between 2003 and 2007, McBroom experienced about 15 to 20 other incidents of alleged harassment, five involving improper touching, according to Clark and another source.

"He talked incredibly crudely when he was under the influence," Clark said. "He described sex acts. ... "

Typing out her account
Still, the incident in March was unexpected. For days afterward, McBroom shut down, stayed at her mother's house, missed her son's birthday party, and tried to decide what to do, Clark and McBroom's mother both said.

McBroom typed a detailed account of what happened into her mother's computer but initially decided against going to the police.

"When she gave it to me to read, I was just completely shocked and I could not believe it happened," Schopp, Mc-Broom's mother, said. "It was so traumatic it really has affected her in ways you can't even imagine."

On May 21, McBroom filed an internal judicial conduct complaint against Kent. On Sept. 28, a formal reprimand was issued.

A month later, on Oct. 25, Kent was formally reassigned to Houston. The decision meant that for the first time in decades no federal judge would be assigned full time to Galveston.

Kent remains on a leave of absence but has continued to draw his $165,000 annual salary. If nothing changes, he'll return to the bench in January. His current reassignment in Houston requires a 70-mile roundtrip commute from his home in Santa Fe.

The U.S. attorney, who appears to have jurisdiction over crimes alleged to occur in a federal courthouse, has taken no action. Several members of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee have called for an investigation into whether Kent should be impeached.

Hardin, McBroom's attorney, said the "5th Circuit judicial authorities have done all that they believe is appropriate. Now it's up to the criminal and congressional officials. We are going to cooperate fully with both institutions."

CT - Police investigate officer in sex act with teenage boy

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NORWALK - Stamford prosecutors are investigating an alleged sex act between a Norwalk senior police lieutenant and a minor, according to police sources.

Allegations surfaced two weeks ago that detective bureau supervisor Thomas Cummings, 46, a 24-year department veteran, met a 15-year-old Weston boy in an Internet chat room. An undisclosed sexual act subsequently took place in Cummings' Norwalk home, police sources said.

The incident was reported to police by a person the boy confided in who was legally obligated to report the incident, department sources confirmed.

Cummings, who has headed the detective bureau for more than a year and is well-regarded by the rank-and-file as well as police brass, is openly gay.

Shortly after the allegations were made, Cummings' home computer was seized as evidence. A request for the records of his cell phone is being considered, a senior source said.

Sources say Cummings, a divorced father of two teenage boys, has not been at the police department since the allegations were made. Efforts to contact him for comment were unsuccessful.

While he acknowledged an investigation is under way, police Chief Harry Rilling said Cummings has not been placed on administrative leave. Cummings is the second most senior lieutenant in the department and was one of 10 candidates vying for two deputy chief positions last month.

"It is inappropriate for me to comment at this time on an ongoing investigation conducted by another agency. We will do everything we can to ensure that this case is thoroughly investigated," Rilling said.

Sources close to the investigation said there was no indication the sex act occurred while Cummings was on duty.

A senior source said Norwalk police asked that the case be investigated by the state's attorney's office at the state Superior Court in Stamford to avoid any appearance of impropriety or conflict of interest. Another source, though, said the request was made by another police department, possibly Weston.

Sources confirmed the investigation was being led by senior Assistant State's Attorney Richard Colangelo, who works in Stamford's Part A division where more serious crimes are tried. Colangelo routinely prosecutes high-profile sex assault cases.

He declined to comment.

Norwalk officers yesterday expressed sadness and anger at the allegations.

"Most of us are devastated by this, by the accusations. Tom is well-liked in the department," a sergeant said. "The seriousness of the allegations, and I'm hoping they are not true, weighs heavily on us."

Another supervisor said, "I'm saddened that this happened and sort of angry that this again happens to a Norwalk police officer."

The source went on to say, "The more important point is that I hope that the victim is getting all the support they need and Tommy is given fair and just treatment under the law."

Police union President William Curwen said Cummings has not contacted the union about the matter. Cummings is represented by the union.

"A lot of the guys are very shocked at the allegations. The fact that he is a high-ranking member of our department makes it all the more unbelievable," Curwen said.

Another supervisor said everyone should remember Cummings has the same rights as anyone else and is innocent until proven guilty.

"But if the allegations are proven true, then he needs to get another job. Obviously, it is an embarrassment," the source said.

IL - Corrections Officer Facing Sex Assault Charges

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BLOOMINGTON -- WMBD-TV has exclusively learned a McLean County man charged with sexual assault has an employment history with the Department of Corrections.

45 year-old Lawrence Ramey of McLean is a corrections officer at the Lincoln Correctional Center. Authorities there today declined to comment on Ramey's employment status, saying they don't discuss personnel issues.

Ramey was arrested late Friday afternoon along with his 19 year-old son Jonathan Ramey. McLean County Sheriff's police also took Ramey's other soon, 17 year old Michael Ramey, into custody.

Police say Ramey and his sons have been sexually abusing a 15 year old female for the past few years. The trio will appear in court tomorrow.