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KNOXVILLE — A rural Tennessee father is accused of raping his two teenage daughters and using electric dog collars to establish dominance over them, authorities said Tuesday.
The charges against the 37-year-old man and his 35-year-old wife were referred to a grand jury on Tuesday in Tazewell, which is in rural Claiborne County near the Kentucky border.
The man is charged with aggravated child abuse and two counts of rape. His wife, who prosecutors say knew about the use of dog collars but not the alleged sexual assaults, is charged with aggravated child abuse and failure to report child abuse.
Prosecutors said more charges could be handed down when the grand jury convenes Dec. 3.
The husband and wife were identified in court, but The Associated Press is withholding their names to avoid identifying their daughters. The AP generally does not identify possible victims of sex abuse.
The wife's attorney, Buddy Baird, said his client will be vindicated when the facts come out. He refused to elaborate. The father's attorney, Dale Potter, did not return a call for comment.
The man used remote-controlled shock collars to force his two eldest daughters — now ages 18 and 19 — to obey him, said Capt. Sam Nelson, the lead investigator at the Claiborne County Sheriff's Office.
The two girls are from their father's previous marriage. The couple has three other children, a girl and two boys, but none of the abuse allegations relate to those children, prosecutors said.
The 18-year-old girl said her father raped her and her sister for a period of about five years, from when they were in their early teens, said prosecutor Amanda Sammons. The girl said he raped her in the family's mobile home and in the woods, Nelson said.
The girl said her father put a shotgun to her head "and said that if she ever told anyone, he would kill himself, her and anyone who tried to remove her from the home," according to an affidavit filed by Nelson.
- Wonder if this idiot planned on doing this, in this order? LOL!
She had been too scared before to tell authorities, but was now "scared for her younger sister, who was 11. She was afraid that her father was going to do the same thing to her," Nelson said.
The girl, then 17, told an official at her high school about the abuse on Sept. 10, and the couple was arrested the following day, Nelson said. The man was being held on $1 million bond. His wife has been released on $100,000 bond.
The four youngest children, including the 18-year-old, are in foster care. Authorities don't know the 19-year-old girl's whereabouts.
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
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This is pathetic. Notice the spooky music they play in the video? More fear-mongering. And again, notice the word "punishment" below? Courts say these laws are not punishment but restrictive, yet the public knows they are punishment. More BS to make the laws stick. They also do point out that sex offenders are treatable but it is not curable, and they mention we don't have a "registered murderer, registered drug dealer" registry either, which I think if we must have a sex offender registry, just create one registry with ALL criminals and make them register once per year or more just like sex offenders. DUI offenders, drug dealers and others harm children as well.
A sexual offense conviction is unlike any other punishment in America. In fact, it's more than a punishment; for some people, it becomes a lifelong liability.
The sex offender registry is a very public way of knowing who's been convicted of private crimes. Those found guilty of the most serious crimes must re-register every ninety days or face prosecution. And there's more...in New York State, the probationary periods are doubled -- and the restrictions are stringent. Convicted sex offenders are barred from working with children, picking-up hitch-hikers, even looking at pornography in their own home.
Onondaga County is about to take it a step further. The probation department just secured several hundred thousand dollars in state funding to begin administering lie detector tests to level two and level three offenders. Though the results would not admissible in court, they could be used to justify more monitoring and tougher restrictions.
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NORTH LONDONDERRY TOWNSHIP -- A man who once performed at children's birthday parties as a clown and also worked as a police officer in the Susquehanna Valley is accused of confronting a teenage girl Tuesday at knifepoint and dragging her into the woods.
Michael Fernsler, 34, is charged with attempted rape, indecent assault and kidnapping. The Lebanon County district attorney said Fernsler attacked a 14-year-old at knifepoint and tried to rape her on Tuesday around 3:30 p.m.
Detectives said the girl was walking to her home after getting off the school bus in North Londonderry Township. Fernsler allegedly came up behind her while wearing a ski mask and carrying a knife, according to officials. He grabbed the girl, dragged her into the woods and tied her up with duct tape, according to the girl.
"What this young girl had to go through is -- she'll never forget it. Hopefully, she'll be able to recover from it and move on," said Lebanon County District Attorney Dave Arnold.
The girl was able to escape and called police.
Fernsler was arrested a short time later. Officials said he knew the victim and targeted her.
Fernsler has been convicted in previous sex crimes. He was due to be sentenced Wednesday in Dauphin County Court for sexually assaulting two girls more than year ago. He was out on bond at the time of Tuesday's alleged attack. His bond has since been revoked. His sentencing in that case has been delayed until January.
"The fact that (Fernsler) was supposed to be sentenced today for very similar actions just makes this an unbelievable crime that he committed," said Arnold.
Fernsler is a former police officer for Shippensburg University and North Londonderry Township. He also performed as a clown at children's parties.
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A woman has accused a San Antonio Police officer of sexual assault.
A San Antonio Police Department spokesperson told News 4 the woman made the allegation early Sunday morning.
She called the police and said a uniformed officer contacted her while he was on patrol on the South Side and forced her to perform sexual acts on him.
"That information was given to our sex crimes detectives as they were taking the report," explained San Antonio Police Department spokesman Sgt. Gabe Trevino. "Our internal affairs unit was involved, and we immediately started an investigation into the allegations."
The accused officer has not been arrested. Because of that, police officials are not releasing any details about who he is or his history with the department. However, they did say they are taking the allegations seriously.
"The officer who she's identified has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the criminal and or the administrative investigation," said Sgt. Trevino.
The department is not saying how the officer met the woman who's accusing him.
They did say she went to the hospital to be examined after the alleged attack.
In the past few months, several other officers have also been in trouble, two of which are facing lawsuits. Last month, a rape victim filed a suit against former officer Ruben Saenz. Saenz is already serving time for the crime. In October, a teenager filed a suit against SAPD Detective Keith Alfaro, saying he beat her up.
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It is important to get the word out regarding the meeting described below. Otherwise, those who hold the political reins in Brevard County will act as if this clash did not occur.
With that said--
Jackie Colon--Chair of the Brevard County Commission and one of Sheriff Jack Parker's Pips--got a reality check last week.
The self-described "compassionate and energetic public servant" reportedly showed her true colors while attending a meeting scheduled by her constituents--family members who wished to discuss the collateral damage to their children as a result of Brevard County's draconian sex offender ordinance. (For more information read Public Hostility--No Easy Answers here).
Jackie had her back-up present in the form of SORT--the Sex Offender Registration and Tracking Unit.
Apparently, when presented the most current statistics by the family members, Colon whipped out her dated tired statistics and when asked--by those she serves--where she obtained her research, got up and walked out of the meeting.
Law enforcement stuck around and appeared interested--however, these are the same types who fed the Commission the dated statistics back when the Brevard County Ordinance 2006-31 was passed. (May 2006) In fact, Jack Parker--also up for re-election in 2008--was pretty much given carte blanche at the time to write the ordinance and as a result, to build a pedestal for the Commissioners to play the Friendly Stranger political card.
Commissioner Colon--who is running for Tax Collector in 2008--best understand, that those who have been impacted by these laws are watching to see how you handle the truth--gracefully or tastelessly.
Colon looked the human truth in the eye last week and I'm certain was blinded by the fact that the citizenry is on to her game and she is caught in a political trap of her own making.
Time to do the right thing, Commissioner. Roll back this ordinance and leave the vote untouched.
Unless--of course--you cry the loudest because something lurks in your own background.
And just a reminder--many persons forced to register as sex offenders have never, ever had physical contact with anyone.
Child or adult.
1515 Sarno Road, Building B, Melbourne, Fl 32935
Phone: (321)253-6611 Fax: (321)253-6620
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Fearful of losing his job and other forms of retribution, a Biddeford man known only as John Doe Jr. is fighting to keep his name off the sex offender registry under Maine’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.
Doe Jr. is challenging the constitutionality of a 2005 amendment to the registration act that requires anyone convicted of a sex offense after Jan. 1, 1982 to register. He is arguing that the amendment is unconstitutional because it adds additional punishment for a crime for which he has already served time in jail.
Doe Jr. pled guilty to a sex offense in 1986 – six years before Maine enacted its first sex offender registration requirement. He was notified last month, for the first time, that he would be required to register as a sex offender.
In addition to his lawsuit, Doe Jr. is also seeking an injunction against local and state law enforcement officials to prohibit them from publishing his name or arresting or prosecuting him for failing to register until his case his decided.
Lawmakers are currently struggling with how to balance the need to keep the public safe and informed, while also recognizing a convicted sex offender's right to a normal life after a criminal penalty has been imposed. The issue of providing sex offender information to the public has taken on urgency since two convicted sex offenders, who were listed on the registry, were murdered several years ago.
When the Legislature convenes in January it will take up 26 bills dealing with sex offenders. The bills range from restricting residency to what Web sites a sex offender should be prohibited from accessing to reclassifying sex crimes. Meanwhile, many local communities – such as Westbrook and Waterboro – have passed restrictions on where a convicted sex offender can locate within town lines.
Under state law, a sex offender convicted as of 1982 must register with each law enforcement agency where they live, work or attend school. A state-sponsored Web site also lists every registered sex offender by name – including any aliases – along with the registrant’s date of birth, workplace, mailing address, physical address, gender, race, height, weight, and eye color. A photo is also posted.
A lifetime registrant, someone who was convicted of a sexually violent offense or who has been convicted of a second offense, must also re-register with law enforcement officials every 90 days. In addition, a lifetime registrant must provide an updated photo and fingerprints every three months.
Saco attorney Eric Cote is representing Doe Jr. and said it’s unfair to his client that the state changed the rules after Doe Jr. pled guilty and served time.
“He served his time and did probation and counseling – the whole deal. You can’t change the deal after the penalty has already been imposed,” Cote said in an interview. In addition to being afraid of losing his job, Doe Jr. is afraid other action will be taken against him if he is forced to register as a sex offender.
“He’s afraid for his safety. I mean two men were killed in Maine just because they were on the sex offender registry," said Cote. "Requiring my client to register goes beyond protecting the public.”
“When a sex offender goes on the registry they have to list their employer’s name and address. How many employers want their name listed on the Internet in connection with the sex offender registry?” Cote asked.
Cote said his client is 59 and has worked in the construction industry for the past 40 years. He currently works as a mason and has no other skills and little education.
Cote would not allow the Sun Chronicle to speak directly with his client. He said Doe Jr. pled guilty to gross sexual misconduct with a minor 21 years ago and if forced to go on the registry, Doe Jr. would be a lifetime registrant.
In September, the Maine Supreme Judicial Court (Law Court) weighed in on the issue of whether the retroactive clause requiring those convicted of sex offenses 23 years ago to register is unconstitutional. The court made no determination, but remanded a Kennebec County Superior Court case, which is very similar to Doe Jr.’s case in Biddeford, back for further “factual development.”
The Law Court said the record from the Kennebec County case did not have enough information for it to decide whether the retroactive clause was unconstitutional or not. But the majority of the court said, “The fact that a sex offender never has the ability to escape the registration requirements . . . strikes us as having the capability to be excessive and as diverging from the purpose of protecting the public.”
The Law Court also said the registrant in the Kennebec County case should have the opportunity to prove, if he can, that the sex offender registration act is excessive in relationship to the registry's goal "of protecting the public from potentially dangerous registrants.”
Although the Law Court did not find in favor of the sex offender from Kennebec County, Cote is hanging his case on what the court said in its 39-page opinion, which was published on Sept. 25.
Cote is hoping that the uncertainty over whether the retroactive clause is constitutional will keep his client from having to register and out of jail until Doe Jr.’s case is decided.
Under the federal constitution, any statute that contains “manifestly unjust and oppressive retroactive effects” is unconstitutional. The argument Cote is making on behalf of Doe Jr. is that the retroactive clause of the sex offender registry in Maine meets both requirements.
Adding to the questions raised by the majority of the Law Court, two justices wrote a separate opinion. Their opinion states that any civil law – in this case the sex offender registration act – that can only be seen as having a "retributive or deterrent" purpose, is unconstitutional because it serves as further punishment for a crime for which the penalty has already been paid.
The two justices went on to say that, “Being branded a sex offender in a community indisputably has ostracizing effects, including social isolation, difficulty finding employment, and being targeted for harassment, violence and even murder.”
James Mitchell, the attorney in the Kennebec County case, said, “The reality is that going on the registry is very destructive of a person’s life.” His client, who has since registered, was afraid he would lose his job, his wife would leave him, his neighbors would try to get him to leave his home and that he could be in danger of physical harm if he was forced to register.
Mitchell declined to say whether any of these things did occur, but said most of the convicted sex offenders who call on him for legal counsel do end up losing their jobs when they are forced to register on the sex offender registry.
“What this is all about,” Mitchell said, “is the law’s inability to recognize redemption and rehabilitation. Your address is published so people can go throw eggs at your house, or worse.”
Mitchell said many convicted sex offenders, who are now getting letters from the state saying they must register, have done what they were told to do to make themselves better.
“Now we have people saying, ‘We don’t care what you’ve done. You’re an outlaw and a danger,’” he said.
Mitchell knows not every convicted sex offender is rehabilitated, but argued that the registry makes no distinction. Both he and the Maine Supreme Court justices are also concerned that, since 2001, there’s no way to get off the registry for good behavior or extraordinary circumstances.
Biddeford Police Chief Roger Beaupre could not be reached before deadline. But Saco Police Chief Brad Paul said he is aware the sex offender registry has come under scrutiny lately and he welcomes lawmakers’ attempts to make the registration act more fair and balanced.
“We need to balance the rights of the public to be informed of the potential risk with allowing people to reintegrate into society,” he said.
Although Paul is sympathetic to Doe Jr.’s situation, he said the law enforcement community must follow the law as it’s currently written. He said while the Law Court opinion muddies the waters somewhat, he still must arrest people for failing to register on the sex offender registry.
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LOUISVILLE – A former Louisville police officer faces federal charges of receiving and possessing child pornography.
The indictment alleges 10 videos and over 400 images of child porn was found on the computer of 77-year-old Roy Derry. He had apparently received it between November of 2002 and April of 2005.
Authorities were alerted to the porn after Derry took his computer to Radio Shack for repairs.
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Targeting people who make false claims of child abuse and ridding the names of accused but unsubstantiated persons from the state's abuser tracking system are yet again the focus of proposed legislation.
Alleging child abuse is becoming a disturbingly popular tactic among divorcing couples arguing over child custody, says the sponsor, Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake.
The fact that making a knowingly false claim is a felony under Utah law is not proving to be much of a deterrent.
"People resort to making a claim, legitimately or not, if they believe they're up against the wall," Davis said. "While it helps one, it can destroy the other person. Once the system's gears get turning, not only is it next to impossible to stop them, the name of the accused stays in the state Management Information System indefinitely."
Under Davis' bill, the names of accused but unsubstantiated abuse suspects would be removed after five years. His legislation received conditional approval last week by fellow lawmakers on the Child Welfare Legislative Oversight Panel.
Critics of the state Division of Child and Family Services — the state's main child protective-services agency — say the handling of false claims is the biggest flaw in a system heavily weighted against anyone accused, regardless of the source or merits of the claim.
A flaw to some is a vital tool to DCFS, which does not endorse the legislation, at least in its current form. Agency administrators say the possible damage to someone's reputation who is falsely accused and on the list is almost nil. The chance of missing a pattern of reported behavior over many years — which is a common trait of abusers who are ultimately caught — is almost a certainty, they told lawmakers.
Rep. Steven Mascaro, R-West Jordan, who is co-chairman of the Child Welfare Legislative Oversight Panel, agrees with the intent of the legislation. He is cautious in his support of it, because he believes the system can be dodged by those who are legitimately accused abusers.
"I don't want someone unduly punished for a claim, nor do I want someone who knows how to work around the system get around an ongoing (abuse) problem," Mascaro said.
Duane Betournay, director of DCFS, considers the current policies and practices regarding fraudulent claims "very well calibrated to protect the individual and the agency." He said that DCFS is obviously against people using the system to get the upper hand in a child-custody battle, adding that the agency is willing to "take a step further" and review the process and the training of employees to better recognize false reports.
However, he added, the agency remains opposed to any additional provisions that would remove unsupported findings from the system. Doing so "would limit the ability of the division and the courts to use information in researching possible patterns of abuse" that removal of the names might preclude, he said.
The issue of cases being brought without merit has been addressed previously by lawmakers, and new language has been debated several times, said Rep. David Litvak, D-Salt Lake. "I think we agree on the overall goal, but at the same time, we can't discount the concerns raised by the very people the state has assigned and relies on to keep children safe."
In the 2007 fiscal year, social workers investigated 20,340 child-abuse and neglect cases. Of those, 8,396 reports were substantiated.
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Paul Craig Roberts, a Republican who worked in the Reagan administration, is predicting a 9-11 type of attack before the 2008 elections. If that occurs, Bush can declare martial law and begin arresting those who disagree with his foreign policy (based on Executive Orders recently issued by the Bush Administration that grant the president these powers and more.) Wild stuff.
Paul Craig Roberts is an economist and a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate. He served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration earning fame as the "Father of Reaganomics".
He is a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Scripps Howard News Service. He is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and he holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. He was a post-graduate at the University of California, Berkeley, and Oxford University where he was a member of Merton College.
In 1992 he received the Warren Brookes Award for Excellence in Journalism. In 1993 the Forbes Media Guide ranked him as one of the top seven journalists in the United States.