Friday, January 4, 2008

OH - Sex Offenders Complain As New Law Goes Into Effect

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Sex offenders in Ohio must re-register under the new system by June 1, 2008.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE -- The Adam Walsh Act has officially gone into effect, and convicted sex offenders are already complaining.

The new law forces states to comply with stricter requirements for sex offender registries.
- No it doesn't. It sets a standard and the states can adopt it or not, but if they don't by 2009, they lose grant money, so money is the issue. It's called bribery! Seems like being a reporter you would get your facts straight, oh yeah, you are not in it for the facts.....

First of all, any convicted sex offender who fails to register his address goes straight to prison.

In Ohio, every sex offender must re-register under the new system by June 1, 2008.

The offenders must not only list their address, but also their car or any vehicle they might drive.

"In addition to that, vacation spots, any internet addresses, identifiers has to be in there, any professional licensing that they may have, over the road truck drivers, we have to have their typical route. Different things like that. The registry itself has expanded to the point where we're really collecting as much information as possible," said Sgt. Steve Forro of the Belmont Co. Sheriff's Dept.
- Why don't all sex offenders call them up every day, tell them when you are going to the bathroom, going out to eat, going to buy groceries, etc? Think they might get the point? I doubt it.

Sgt. Forro said these expanded sex offender profiles will all be available to the public.

The attorney general has been sending out re-classification letters to sex offenders, and Forro said the offenders have been calling in and are upset with the changes.

IN - Time for offenders to pay up

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This is nothing but pure extortion!!!


Vanderburgh County residents convicted of sex crimes and other violent acts are literally having to pay for their crimes.

A new law requires them to pay a fee to appear on the sex offender registry.
- More cruel and unusual BS! You usually pay a fee for a service you want, not something you don't want. Why don't you make all criminals pay a fee for their crime? Just think, if all criminals had to pay a yearly fee, you'd be rich...

They say crime doesn't pay, the criminal does and that's certainly the case here as more than 400 sex and violent offenders in Vanderburgh County.

Offenders are being told they have to pay an annual fee to be on the registry and if they move, they'll have to pay a change of address fee.

It's a law, sex and violent offenders in Vanderburgh must be registered on the county's web site. But now, each offender must also pay a 50 dollar annual fee.

Vanderburgh County Sheriff Eric Williams says, "Ultimately our goal is to get people registered and make sure that information is accurate but at the same time we have an ordinance in place now. We think it's appropriate they pick up the cost of making this happen."
- No, the tax payers who voted on the laws should pay, and where is the grant money you would get for all these BS laws? Why isn't that paying for this? Next people will have to pay a fee every time they stop at a stop sign or red light for the service. Total BS. Many offenders are on the registry for life, on top of having to pay for counseling, probation fees. This is total BS!

The sheriff says Vanderburgh County spends about a $100,000 a year in personnel, administrative and equipment costs to monitor and maintain the sex offender registry.

Requiring offenders to pay an annual fee will help defray those costs.
- Why don't the tax payers and the state pay for this? They are the ones who wanted these draconian laws...

Sheriff Williams says, "When we got the responsibility of maintaining the registry there were no funds to go with it so we kind of had to rob from other areas of the agency to make this work. We believed it was an important mission being given to us to make sure the information was accurate and well maintained so we have dedicated significant resources to it and those resources do cost dollars."
- So how is making people pay a fine going to insure the information is correct? It won't, this is just pure extortion...

The county says it will work with the offender who may have a difficult time paying as long as that person registers.
- Then what is the point? Most wind up homeless because of these very laws.

Williams says there are still many offenders in Vanderburgh County who have yet to register. If offenders don't sign up and pay their dollar fee, they could end up paying in another way.

Sheriff Williams says, "We look at it like this, society has given you a chance to maintain your presence in the community and do whatever it is, work or go to school. We ask you to register. We demand that you register and if you choose not to your option is to go back to prison."
- You are wrong, society and the gestapo won't let offenders live anywhere, work anywhere, the list is endless, so this is pure extortion, plain and simple. PAY A FINE OR GO TO JAIL, kind of like the gangs do, so people are protected by giving them money...

Sheriff Williams says the offenders must also pay a $5 fee every time they change their address.

He says the fees collected should bring in about $20,000 a year, which the sheriff says would be enough to make a part-time clerk and a full-time employee, who could devote much of his or her time to the registry.

VA - Bill Introduced To Keep Bus Stops Away From Sex Offenders' Homes

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FAIRFAX COUNTY -- A northern Virginia lawmaker wants to bar school districts from placing bus stops in front of sex offenders' homes.

News4 first reported last January on a Clifton father's concerns that his daughter's bus stop was directly in front of a registered child sex offender's home.

A second family raised similar concerns to a northern Virginia lawmaker when school officials refused to change the stop.

"I was flabbergasted. I could not believe it was right in front of the house, and when I called the school and tried to explain it to him, I was told the school does not move bus stops for this purpose," said Fairfax County parent Kathie Truitt.

Jim Foley encountered the same response more than a year ago when he began his battle to have a bus stop changed.

"Our children's safety is the most important thing to my wife and I, and it's not a fight we're going to quit on," said Foley.

Now Delegate David Englin is introducing a bill that would prohibit school districts from locating bus stops within 50 feet of registered sex offenders' homes and require all districts to publish a plan detailing safety rules for bus stops.

"It really defies common sense for, as a matter of public policy, the commonwealth of Virginia to allow children to congregate each morning in front of the home of a person who has committed a crime against a child," Englin said.

But Fairfax County public school officials said they will oppose the legislation, and they stand by their policy.

They said they do not move bus stops solely because of a sex offender's residence.

School security officials said with more than 350 registered sex offenders in the county, it would be a logistical nightmare to avoid sex offenders' homes.

"FCPS has reviewed this issue with detectives who work with sexual predators and found no data to support the claim that children are at a greater risk from sexual offenders who live near bus stops," said Superintendent Jack Dale in a letter.

The 2008 session of the Virginia General Assembly convenes next Wednesday.

WA - Former Police Officer Sentenced For Child Sex Crimes

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TACOMA -- A former Tacoma police officer who admitted to performing sex acts with children along with his girlfriend has been sentenced to over 19 years in prison, reported KIRO 7 Eyewitness News.

Lee Giles, 62, and his girlfriend, Maureen Wear, 47, pleaded guilty to charges of child rape, child molestation and assault of a child.

Giles also may be held after his sentence for sex offender treatment, KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Kevin McCarty said, and will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

Sentencing for Wear was delayed for two weeks because of a procedural matter.

Prosecutors said Giles and Wear created more than 20 videotapes of themselves performing sex acts with children, including ones they were related to.

Giles was arrested in August 2006 and charged with seven sex crimes after a relative of Wear told police the retired officer raped him repeatedly in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Giles confessed to abusing the boy when questioned by detectives, according to court records filed in the case.

Giles had a high-profile position with the Tacoma Police Department acting as a spokesman for Crimestoppers for several years.

OK - Former Carter Co. deputy gets 17 years for sex abuse

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ARDMORE (AP) - A former Carter County deputy sheriff is being sentenced to 17 years in prison for sexually abusing two children.

Allen Ray Haworth of Ardmore pleaded guilty in Carter County District Court to two counts of committing a lewd act with a minor.

Haworth was charged after two juvenile girls told authorities they had been molested by Haworth.

OK - Former Wagoner police officer charged with rape

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WAGONER -- A former Wagoner police officer has been charged with raping a high school student. David Finch, 36, of Tahlequah was charged Dec. 28 in Wagoner County District Court with second-degree rape, court records show.

Finch was arrested Wednesday by U.S. marshals in Cherokee County, said Jessica Brown, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation.

Finch was a security guard at Wagoner High School when the alleged assault took place about Sept. 1, officials said. The OSBI was asked to to investigate on Sept. 26, Brown said.

She said the 16-year-old told investigators that she and Finch had had sex one time at a home in Wagoner.

Wagoner Police Chief Terry Hornbuckle said Finch worked for the department for about a year before the alleged assault and as a security guard for the high school for "a few months."

Finch was fired from the Police Department in September and relieved of his high school duties. He is in the Wagoner County Jail with bail set at $20,000, Sheriff Johnny Cannon said.

LA - Court mulls death penalty for child rape

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The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether a state can execute someone convicted of raping a child, one of the few remaining crimes that does not require the death of the victim to result in capital punishment.

Patrick Kennedy, 43, was sentenced to death for the rape of his 8-year-old stepdaughter in Louisiana. He is the only person on death row in the United States for a rape that was not also accompanied by a killing.

The Supreme Court banned executions for rape in 1977 in a case in which the victim was an adult woman.

Kennedy's lawyers say the death penalty for child rape violates the Eighth Amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment.

The justices will hear arguments in the case in April.

The last executions for rape or any other crime that did not also include the victims' death were in 1964.

Forty-five states already ban the death penalty for any kind of rape and among the other five states that in theory allow it for child rapists. Kennedy's case is the only time a state has sought to execute someone. Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas allow executions in such cases.

FL - Man accused of sex assault finds 100 flyers on lawn

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A Fort Walton Beach man returned home Thursday to find about 100 copies of a flyer accusing him of sexual assault littering his front lawn.

The man’s grandfather originally found the papers, according to an Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office offense report. The papers stated, “Caution: (name withheld) residing at (address withheld) has a history of sexually assaulting 12 and 13-year-old girls. Protect your child from this PREADATOR.”

The man told a deputy he felt his wife’s ex-husband, a Crestview man, left the flyers. The ex-husband’s current wife and children said he was with them in Crestview all day.

A flyer was also found at Mr. Cheap Butts on Lewis Turner Boulevard. A deputy visited the store and spoke with the store manager who said a black female brought in the flyer.

All the papers at the scene were collected and submitted into evidence. The Sheriff’s Office expects to review surveillance video from Mr. Cheap Butts sometime Friday.

The man’s name and address have been withheld from this report because there is no record of him listed as a sexual offender on the Florida Department of Law Enforcement’s sex offender Web site.

WV - Former Police Chief Gets Jail Time For Sex Charges

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A former Grantsville police chief will spend three to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to sexual abuse charges.

Fifty-seven-year-old Ron Gordon Senior pleaded guilty to three charges of first-degree sexual abuse in November and was sentenced yesterday by a Calhoun County Circuit Court judge.

Gordon received consecutive one-to-five-year sentences for all three counts.

Fayetteville defense attorney G. Ernest Skaggs says the first count stemmed from the abuse of a minor girl about two decades ago. The other two crimes occurred in recent years and involved adult woman under Gordon's supervision when he was a home confinement officer.

As part of a plea agreement, three other counts were dropped.

State Police began investigating the complaints in February of 2006 and Gordon was suspended from the police department that same month. Gordon had been chief since 2004.

Gordon is being held at the Central Regional Jail and was unavailable for comment but Skaggs said he'd just let the court record speak for itself.

IN - AG Pushes Sex Offender Web Ban

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Plan Aims To Keep Offenders Off Certain Sites

INDIANAPOLIS -- Convicted sex offenders' access to certain types of Web sites would be regulated under a plan brought forth Friday by Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter (Contact).

Legislators and Carter are crafting legislation that would ban sex offenders from using social networking sites, chat rooms or instant messaging programs that also allow minors on their sites.

Proactive enforcement of such a regulation would likely be difficult, given the relative anonymity of the Internet, but if the proposal becomes law, it could be used to mount additional charges against anyone arrested in an Internet-related child sex crime.

"The Internet is a powerful communication tool that is being exploited by convicted sex offenders who have found cyberspace a convenient avenue for hiding their identity from young people," Carter said in a release. "Indiana must be proactive in establishing laws that address this type of deceitful behavior by convicted felons."

The proposal would make it a Class D felony for a convicted sex offender to use social networking sites, chat rooms or instant messaging programs frequented by minors.

The offense would be a Class C felony if the offender contacted a child or was previously convicted.

A survey conducted by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children indicated that as many as one in seven people between the ages of 10 and 17 has gotten unwanted sexual solicitations online in which contact was attempted in person, over the phone or through the mail.
- Where is the link to the study to prove this? I have one Video Series which says otherwise.

As many as a third of children with Internet access has been exposed to unwanted sexual material on the Web, the survey concluded.

Carter's office said four states already have laws regulating sex offenders' access to social networking sites.

CA - Roaming sex offenders on the rise

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Some made homeless by law barring them from areas near schools, parks

SAN PABLO — S.T. is a registered sex offender with a wife, three kids and a cozy apartment near Hilltop Mall. But every night he roams the dark streets in a pea coat, a wool cap and a GPS tracker strapped to his left ankle.

He'd rather stay home. But that could mean running afoul of Jessica's Law, and a return trip to prison.

So at 10 p.m. he slips on the prison shoes he wore out of San Quentin this month and walks to his favorite bus stop shelter. He and chats with the drivers. He circles the mall. Then he treks down near the Richmond BART station to watch the hookers and drug dealers and to lie on a sheet of cardboard plucked from behind a KFC.

When light breaks he shakes off the chill and heads home — but never before 7 a.m., because that's when his parole officer says it's OK, said S.T., who asked to remain anonymous, saying he fears upsetting his parole agent.

"My hands get so cold they turn actually red and get numb," he says on a recent night out. "Mentally and psychologically, I'm fighting."

Reverse curfew

S.T. lives under a kind of reverse-curfew that owes to the state's enforcement of Proposition 83, the 2006 ballot measure that bans newly released sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a school or park.

He's not alone. State corrections figures show a big spike in parolee sex offenders who, like him, are registering as transient — homeless or bouncing from bed to bed, doing anything to comply with the 2,000-foot rule.

The surge started in August, when parole agents began to enforce a law that was billed as a way to ease safety fears over children. Yet concern is mounting among state officials, parole agents, victim advocates and even the law's Republican author, that this is not the way.

Of the 3,952 parolees who now fall under the ban, nearly one in five were registered as transient last week, up from very few before the law, officials said. In the region that runs the coast from Ventura north to the Oregon border and includes the Bay Area, more than a third of the 859 sex offender parolees who fall under Jessica's Law are officially transient.

The situation is most acute in urban areas, where the 2,000-foot rule leaves few places for newly released offenders to live.

Prop. 83, or Jessica's Law, added several get-tough measures against sex offenders. The most controversial is the ban on newly released sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet — about four-tenths of a mile — of a school or park where children "regularly gather."

As judges and policymakers sort out the legal and practical implications, what has emerged is a makeshift — some say slipshod — system of enforcement.

Legal leeway

Parole agents measure off the 2,000 feet "as the crow flies," under state policy. But they have leeway over what it means to live somewhere. For S.T. and others, it's where they spend the night.

The rise in transients is a concern, said Gareth Lacy, spokesman for Attorney General Jerry Brown, whose office keeps the state sex offender registry.

"It's much harder to track and manage offenders who are moving around and not in one location," he said.

Most of the transients are fitted with GPS anklets. They also must report daily to their parole agents, instead of weekly. But the tracking is no cure-all, said Mark McCarthy, a parole agent who oversees sex offenders.

"The big fallacy with GPS is that it's going to curtail crimes. It isn't going to make them not molest kids or rape women. We'll just know if they did it or not," he said. "For public safety purposes, I'd rather know where a guy's at, at home, than have him transient, out in the streets somewhere."

A state corrections official denied any policy for parole agents to tell people like S.T. to go transient. Some agents, though, say it is written between the lines of an Aug. 17 memo detailing the agency's policy on the law.

Few choices

The choices are few in some counties. In San Francisco, where state maps show virtually no compliant housing, 31 of the city's 97 Jessica's Law parolees are now registered transient.

"We had an obligation to make sure parolee's knew their options under the law," said state corrections spokesman Bill Sessa. "We weren't directing them. We were simply saying, you either have to find a compliant address or register as transient."

A third option: a parole violation and possible return to prison.

As many as 700 sex offenders are paroled each month. They all fall under the 2,000-foot rule unless a court rules otherwise. The state Supreme Court is expected to rule in spring on a challenge to the law.

"The continuing issue is there have to be places for people to live," said Sessa. "The number of sex offenders covered by the law will be constantly expanding."

Transients can't set up anywhere, said Sessa. They can't sleep, for instance, under a bridge for several nights if it's too close to a school or park, he said. But parole agents have discretion.

"There's a common-sense perspective of what it means to live somewhere," he said. "There is a balancing act here, because all the research shows that having a stable environment is the biggest key to rehabilitation, and so agents are always trying to strike a balance."

For S.T., it feels more like an imbalance.

He was convicted in 1990 of an assault with intent to commit rape against his son's teacher. Court documents say he sprayed her with mace, hit her in the head and tried to force her legs open with his knees before a school janitor came with a shovel and he ran off.

Court documents show he suffered bouts of alcoholism, depression and hallucinations. He pleaded guilty and received a 64-month prison sentence.

He has since committed other crimes, records show. The latest came early this year. He was convicted of battery on a police officer after a takedown in 2005 during an attempt to arrest him as a parolee-at-large. He bit an officer's finger. When he left prison early this month, he fell under Jessica's Law.

His wife often joins him early on his nightly journey. They hold hands and circle the mall. Then he walks her back home, across from a church school.

"This is for me to feel what he's going through," she says as they walk. "He has a place to come to. He has a family. We have children. It is so weird. He just can't be home."

S.T. says his parole officer told him: "Wherever you go, just keep it moving." That's usually what he does, if only to keep warm.

"I'm really — how would you say? — traumatized," he says. "Being in the cold, being tired, walking in the rain . . . What if I have to use the bathroom? It is very degrading."

Creativity needed

The author of Jessica's Law now says the state is misguided in its early enforcement of the law, and that policymakers need to be more "creative."

Sen. George Runner, R-Antelope Valley, described S.T.'s case as "a very tortured interpretation, obviously. Somebody in corrections has decided it was easier to go let somebody be transient than to insist that they follow the law."

Still, Runner said he never meant the law for people such as S.T. who fall under Jessica's Law only because of non-sex convictions. That borders on being retroactive, he said.

He also disagrees with how the state strictly measures 2,000 feet, when in some cases freeways split a home from a school or park. He thinks cities can better define parks. Should all of Golden Gate Park count, or only areas that children frequent?

"We're always concerned if there are issues that make something impossible to implement," he said. "We believe there's a big difference between impossible and hard. The bottom line is it's going to work."

Critics blame Runner for writing a vaguely worded law that was ripe for trouble. Corrections officials say they are merely enforcing the letter of a law that 70 percent of voters passed.

The California Sex Offender Management Board, formed under Jessica's Law, is studying the fallout and possible fixes, including the idea of "cluster-housing" for sex offenders.

"It's really about keeping sex offenders from living in a place where they have easy access to children," said Nancy O'Malley, chief assistant district attorney in Alameda County.

O'Malley couldn't grasp the purpose of S.T. wandering the streets at night.

"That's not good," she said. "What does that do?"

CA - Was porn seized legally?

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Judge in Fresno will decide whether officer lied for search warrant.

Prosecutors contend that a former Fresno County sex crimes detective possessed dozens of computer photographs and videos of child pornography that included violent images of adults raping kids.

But whether a jury will get to view the evidence found in Sgt. Ron Vaughn Jr.'s personal computer is the subject of a pretrial hearing today in U.S. District Court in Fresno.

Judge Oliver Wanger wants Mike Prado, a special agent with the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and his partner, Fresno County sheriff's detective Kevin Wiens, to testify about whether they tricked a judge into signing a search warrant -- as defense lawyer Rick Berman contends.

If Wanger determines the detectives used deception to get a warrant to search Vaughn's computer and his Clovis photography studio, the child pornography images will be tossed out as evidence.

"We have to get to the bottom of this," Wanger said.

At issue is the initial investigation of Vaughn, who turned himself in to federal agents in November 2005 after investigators found 50 pornographic images and 20 pornographic movie files involving children -- some as young as 4 -- on his computer at his photography studio, according to an arrest warrant.

At the time, Vaughn was still a member of the Sheriff's Department but on disability leave because of an on-duty car collision. He had been under investigation about a month when Prado and Wiens met him at his studio.

The investigators explained the allegations, and Vaughn gave permission to search the studio and his computer. What happened next is at issue.

Prado told a judge that during the cursory search, they found four movie files on Vaughn's computer with child porn images. The judge approved a warrant for a more extensive search.

Berman, Vaughn's lawyer, told Wanger on Thursday that his computer expert, David Penrod, examined Vaughn's computer and discovered that the four computer images were "not accessible or viewable." In essence, Prado lied to get the warrant, Berman said.

Prosecutors David Gappa and Jill Trumbull-Harris, however, contend that the detectives simply misstated their evidence to the judge.

"It was neither reckless nor intentional," Gappa told the judge.

Wanger also noted that the prosecution computer expert, Richard Kaplan, also supported the detectives and said the images could be viewed.

Noting the conflict, Wanger said the hearing will determine whether the detectives made a simple error or intentionally misled the judge into issuing a warrant.

Prado declined to comment Thursday. Wiens could not be reached to comment.

While Americans have a constitutional right against illegal search and seizure, Berman said, over time the courts have made it easier for police to get search warrants.

"But you still have to tell the truth and not mislead the judge," he said.

If the evidence is thrown out, Berman said, it will gut the prosecution's case and put a blot on the detectives' résumés, which include being honored by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in a Capitol Hill ceremony in 2006 because they have arrested dozens of child porn suspects.

If convicted on the child pornography charges, Vaughn faces 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. His trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 15.

Berman said the charges are not only unfounded, but out of character for Vaughn, who joined the Sheriff's Department in May 1990 and was a detective in the department's child pornography unit from 1999 to 2001. He was later promoted to sergeant but was put on disability leave in 2004 because of injuries in the car accident.

Despite being on leave, Berman said, Vaughn continued to investigate child porn cases and go to sheriff's meetings. He finally resigned in July 2006 -- about eight months after he surrendered to authorities.

Berman told Wanger that Vaughn had a legal right to possess the child porn evidence in his studio because he was still a member of the department and investigating cases when the federal search warrant was served.

But Trumbull-Harris said Vaughn was not entitled to the evidence because he had left the sheriff's child porn unit in 2001. She said Vaughn knew it was improper to take evidence home with him, and many of the images were downloaded from the Internet at least three years after he quit the child porn unit.

Many of the images show "adults molesting and raping children," Trumbull-Harris said, and were not part of any sheriff's investigation.

"They were not in the scope of his work as a detective," she said. "There is no legal authority to allow him to use it."

God will forgive you

AR - Sex Offender Law


This is the fault of the libraries. If they are going to have computers, they need to install filtering software so this kind of crap cannot be viewed in a library. Come on, it's not that hard. Are idiots working for their IT department? Do they even have an IT department? The guy they busted in this video is a total dumba$$.

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