Wednesday, January 23, 2008

ID - Bill would restrict siting of sex offender group homes

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01/23/2008

BOISE - Idaho lawmakers will consider a bill that would restrict the siting of residential group homes for registered sex offenders.

Rep. Lynn Luker (Contact), R-Boise, said the bill he introduced on Wednesday would prohibit more than two sex offenders from living in an apartment, house or mobile home unless cities and counties develop ordinances allowing more than two per residence.

Luker said the bill is designed to give residents some leverage in the placement of the so-called "transition homes" that have proliferated in Idaho in recent months.

In just a year, the number of transition homes has increased from about 40 to at least 104, mostly for inmates just released from prison after serving drug sentences. Some house registered sex offenders who have served their sentences.

Typically, transition homes house people for six months to a year, charge rent, provide a treatment regimen and in some cases make religious worship a condition of residence.

Luker said his bill emerged after constituents complained last year after learning that a transition home nearby was housing sex offenders. Luker said they worried about the safety of their children and the potential for a decline in property values.

"Their (children's) friends couldn't come over because their parents wouldn't let them," Luker said. "The biggest concern was they had no input and no way to have any input.

"There is a definite need for these homes, and this bill doesn't try to say that there isn't a need," Luker told the House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee. "The hope is that this bill will at a minimum impose a moratorium on new homes until cities and counties set up a procedure."

It would also grant cities and counties the ability to pass ordinances to regulate aspects like the maximum number of residents, the standards for supervision and the zones in which the houses can be located.

The measure would not affect existing transition homes.

The problem for neighbors and government officials who want to limit transition homes is that the federal Fair Housing Act prohibits municipalities from discriminating against people with drug and alcohol problems, which are considered disabilities.

But sex offenders, or anybody who poses a threat to other people or property, are not considered protected under the act, according to the Department of Justice.
- You don't think drug users/dealers or alcoholics cause a threat to other people?

Luker said that gives the state the authority to regulate housing for sex offenders. He noted that the Idaho attorney general's office has reviewed his bill and concluded it poses no constitutional issues.

The bill also contains some protections for sex offenders. For example, a judge could grant an exception to the cap on two sex offenders per dwelling if there was a valid reason.

The committee will hear testimony on the bill later this session.


OH - Video Released Of Alleged Assault On School Bus

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01/23/2008

For the first time we can actually see what happened the day a student said he was sexually assaulted on a Butler County school bus.

The video of the November 19 incident on a bus outside Edgewood High School was released Wednesday after the two suspects accepted plea deals.

The video shows a struggle among three students.

When you look at the video up close it's a bit blurry but if you focus on the top center of the frame you can see a student leans into a seat. A second student leans into the same area.

Cindy Pelfrey said her son, a middle school student, was being assaulted by the two high school students in that back seat.

"I was furious, I was upset," said Pelfrey.

The bus driver told investigators she saw one suspect, who's 17-years-old, pull down his pants and expose himself.

The driver told police she also saw the 17-year-old boy force the 13-year-old boy's face into his lap.

The second high school student, who's 15-years-old is accused of repeatedly hitting the victim.

Both of the accused took plea deals to reduced charges.

The victim's family isn't happy that the charges involving sex crimes were dropped for the 17-year-old suspect.

"All I ask is that he be registered sex offender. That's all I ask because if he'll do it to a 13-year-old boy he's going to do it to a 13-year-old girl," said Pelfrey.

Without a sex crime charge, the teen won't have to register as a sex offender.

Attorneys for the teens in trouble said the victim instigated the incident and the whole situation got blown out of proportion.

"There was no exposing of himself. If you look at the video it's preposterous for anyone to say he exposed himself," said Mark Conese, the attorney for the 17-year-old suspect.

"If you see the video you're going to see these kids were horse playing around and it just got carried away," said Muhammad Hamidullah, the attorney for the 15-year-old suspect.

Sam Blevins, the victim's grandfather said, "The 17-year-old, he's in high school. Common sense tells you not to whip out your junk in public. Plain, straight and simple."

The mothers of the suspects said their son's took the plea to get this over with.

They will be sentenced next month.

One of the suspects could be locked up until he's 21 while the other could get up to 90 days.


PA - Man pleads no contest in sex assault of wife

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01/23/2008

CHAMBERSBURG - A Fayetteville, Pa., man charged with sexually assaulting his wife pleaded no contest Wednesday in Franklin County Court to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

The 65-year-old man, whose name is being withheld to protect the identity of the victim, was scheduled for sentencing in May, after undergoing a sexual offender's assessment.

"I'll allow this to go forward. I'm not putting my stamp of approval on it yet," Judge Carol Van Horn said of the plea agreement.

The judge expressed concerns about the proposed sentence of 11 1/2 to 23 months of house arrest with electronic monitoring, sexual offender treatment and 10 years on probation.

"This is based strictly on the victim's wishes," Assistant District Attorney Lauren Sulcove said of the now estranged wife. The woman was willing to testify against her husband, "but I don't know if she can make it through a trial" because of her emotional trauma, Sulcove said.

The assault occurred Sept. 15 at the couple's South Mountain Road home where the man forced his wife into a van, made her perform a sexual act and threatened to choke her to death, according to court records.

The case was brought before Van Horn as a no-contest plea, in part because of the man's hearing impairment, which defense attorney Deborah Hoff said made it difficult for him to make statements in answer to questions. The man's daughter was present to communicate with him through a combination of lip reading and written notes.

The judge sought a guilty plea.

"I'll plead guilty, but I didn't do what she said I did," the man said.

Van Horn was unwilling to take a guilty plea from someone professing not to have committed the crime and, after a recess, the no-contest plea was accepted.


American Suspect of Child Porn and Pedophilia Murdered with 7 Shots in Brazil

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Why do they continually call him "The American" instead of his name? Sounds like they don't like Americans very much to me.

01/23/2008

Brazil's police are investigating the murder of American Gerald Gusta Cisco, 61, in Natal, the capital of the Brazilian northeastern state of Rio Grande do Norte. Cisco whose body was found buried in a vacant lot on Monday, January 21, used to live in a house in the Ponta Negra neighborhood.

Policemen found candy wrappers, toys and hundreds of pictures of naked children some as young as two and teens at his place as well as studio spotlights and Viagra pills. Neighbors told investigators that they usually saw little girls coming in and out of the American's house. They usually left carrying candy, chocolate and ice cream, according to these witnesses.

Authorities say the American's body had signs of seven shots. The police still don't know it the crime is related to the pedophilia charges being leveled against Cisco.

Some of the little girls shown in the pictures have now been identified and are being heard by the authorities. According to the police, the last person to see Cisco, on the day before his body was found, was a caretaker who used to care for another property the American had in the Redinha beach.

"A scavenger who was picking up litter in the area on Monday morning saw the freshly dug ground and blood stains and went to the police," said a police spokesman. "We found the body in the afternoon with seven bullet wounds on the skull."

On Tuesday, when it went to the victim's house the police found the apartment's door broken and the whole place turned upside down. Several appliances and money seemed to be stolen.

The American's gardener and caretaker, Wilames Faria Albuquerque, was the one who recognized the body and then took the police to the victim's residence. Albuquerque used to visit Cisco every Monday to take care of the dogs and do maintenance work.

This last Monday he did just that, but didn't find the American. As he kept calling and nobody answered the phone he went back on Tuesday and then noticed that one of the American's pit bull seemed to have a broken leg.

Looking inside the house over the wall he also noticed through the window the mess inside the place. When he arrived at the police station to report the case he was informed that they had found a body that matched his description.

"The initial information," said police chief Nataneon de Freitas, "led us to believe that it was a case of robbery but the finding of pedophilia material now make us also probe a connection between the murder and the pictures found."

The American, according to a friend, had a girlfriend but lived by himself. He had lived in Recife, capital of Pernambuco, before moving to Natal. This friend also informed that he has family in California where his body is supposed to be sent for burial.

Among the goods police believe were taken are two TV sets, two DVD players, a computer, and a gas cylinder. A safe found at the upper floor had been pried open. The police was able, however, to seize some computer hardware that may tell them if Cisco's kid porn activity had any international connection.

The American's car, a gray Chevrolet Astra, is also missing. The robber seems to have used the garage's remote control to get access to the house. The front door was apparently forcefully opened with a crowbar. The police believe that the murderer went to the victim's place after the killing and took material related to child pornography.


IN - Goshen officer won't be charged for having sex with teen

View the article here | Age of Consent in Indiana

01/23/2008

ELKHART — A Goshen Police officer will not face criminal charges for having sex with a teenager.

Court documents show Elva Yoder had sex with the girl 3 times in August while he was off duty.

State Police found the girl was 16 at the time, and that is the legal age of consent.

At a news conference Wednesday, the Elkhart County prosecutor said he is frustrated he can't file charges.

“These are the people that we bring in to our community to protect and serve us and I happen to believe that it is reasonable for any parent to believe their 16-year-old child ought to be safe in the hands of a police officer,” said Elkhart County Prosecuting Attorney Curtis T. Hill, Jr.

Officer Yoder will be reinstated this week.


NY - Johnstown ex-cop faces porn charges

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I want to see a study done on how many people charged with sex crimes are police, celebrities or politicians. So we can see who is REALLY committing these crimes. It appears to me a TON are cops. Go here and see more corruption, especially the POLICE section.

01/23/2008

Retired officer accused of having child pornography

JOHNSTOWN — Retired Johnstown police officer Warren S. Maas, the department’s former DARE officer, is charged with possessing child pornography on his computer.

State Police arrested the 55-year-old Maas on Thursday following a seven-month investigation.

Fulton County District Attorney Louise K. Sira said a family member discovered the images in 2006 and alerted authorities.

Maas, who retired about 11 years ago after a 20-year career as a Johnstown police officer, served as a Drug Abuse Resistance Education officer for at least three years, a department spokesman said.

After retirement, Maas ran a restaurant that specialized in hot dogs.

Most recently, Maas has been an employee in the security department at Nathan Littauer Hospital, where he has been suspended without pay.

Sira said it must be recognized that this alleged crime took place “well after he retired.” Still, she said, “it’s a sad commentary on someone who at one time swore to protect and serve.”

She said the images were of young girls. She said she is aware of the source of the material, but declined to discuss it.

Maas’ lawyer, Gerard V. Heckler of Johnstown, declined to discuss the case.

Sira said the arrest was delayed while the state police computer lab examined two computers seized from Maas.

Maas was arraigned in Johnstown City Court on one count of possessing a sexual performance by a child, a class E felony punishable by a prison sentence of up to 11⁄3 to four years.

Bail was set at $3,000, which Maas posted.

State Police investigators said Maas had at least a dozen images on the computer.
- So why is he being charged with only one count? Should be 12. The average citizen is charged one count per image, so why isn't this person?

The State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation was assisted in the case by the agency’s computer crimes unit.

Sira said she expects to present the case to a grand jury.


NY - Child porn lands corrections officer in prison

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01/23/2008

In 2001, Livingston County Jail Deputy Mark A. Cole was awarded a medal of valor for fighting a fire that extensively damaged the jail.

But Cole will now lose his job and go to prison for possessing child pornography on his home computer.

State Supreme Court Justice John A. Ark sentenced Cole on Tuesday to spend 21/3 to seven years behind bars after Cole pleaded guilty to three felony counts of possessing a sexual performance by a child.

Cole, who has been suspended without pay since his arrest in February 2007, will be fired, said Sheriff John York.

"What he did is terrible, absolutely indefensible," York said.

But York said Cole, 37, of Avon, Livingston County, who had worked at the jail since 1995, had been "a great corrections officer."

"I don't know what happened to him," York said. "I don't have a clue."

As Cole was sentenced, his attorney, Thomas J. Cocuzzi, said Cole had been admitted to Strong Memorial Hospital last week for psychiatric treatment. He was discharged just before his sentencing.

An evaluation by a sex offender therapist found no indication that Cole is a pedophile, Cocuzzi said.

Cole took his computer to a Henrietta repair shop in April 2006 because he believed the computer was infected by a virus. The shop's owner found images of children under 16 engaging in sexual activities and called 911.

Cole was arrested after a 10-month investigation.

Cole was charged with 26 counts of possessing a sexual performance by a child because of 26 images found on his computer. He had faced a prison term of up to 10 to 20 years if convicted of all the charges.

The prosecution agreed to a plea deal with a lesser sentence because the images had been erased from the computer, although they remained in an unused portion of his computer's hard drive.

The erasure complicated the prosecution's attempt to prove that Cole knowingly possessed pornography, said Assistant District Attorney Douglas A. Randall. The prosecution also considered Cole's lack of a prior criminal record.


VA - Victim Looks For Sexual Predator Crackdown Funding

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My questions are: (1) Why is a 13 year old on a social networking site? (2) Why did she go meet the guy after talking with him, instead of reporting him? If your state needs money, find some kid who has been abused and ask for millions of dollars by naming the law in the childs name!

01/23/2008

A Pennsylvania teenager who was abducted, held hostage and sexually assaulted by a man she met online asked the General Assembly Wednesday for more funding to crack down on child sexual predators.

In 2002, 13-year-old Alicia Kozakiewicz left her home to meet Scott Tyree, a 38-year-old she had met online. He drove her to his Herndon home, where he chained her to the floor in his basement for four days while he beat and raped her.
- You see, he was not a sex offender and the registry did not protect anybody. Why has this parent of this child NOT taught her about talking with strangers?

Kozakiewicz joined Alexandria Delegate Brian Moran in pushing for "Alicia's Law." The legislation would provide about $14.8 million to expand Virginia's two child predator task forces, create three regional computer forensic labs and provide money to track Internet predators.
- Stop attaching human names to laws... Nobody will question them, and you know that. This crap needs to be illegal and we need to go back to using HB-XXXX and SB-XXXX, etc.

Tyree is serving a 19-year prison term.
- Good, it's a$$holes like this who are making everyone else's lives hell!


FL - Ex-Cons, Sex Offenders Roam Streets During Day

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01/23/2008

State Law Requires Registered Offenders To Keep Distance At Night

DAVIE -- It takes more than an hour but every morning but when his curfew ends, Mark DaCosta leaves the campsite he shares with two sex offenders on the edge of the Everglades and bicycles to his parents' house in Davie.

DaCosta is not a sex offender but was ordered to live by the same rules as a condition of his parole. Police call him an habitual offender and he has a long record including grand theft charges, arson and burglary assault, to name a few.

Because he was order to live by the same rules as sex offenders he can't stay at his parents' house at night because there's a school bus stop nearby. But he's allowed to be there during the day and he usually is.
- Why the hell is a non-sex offender made to live by these draconian laws? I would've fought that big time in court.

"What I don't understand about this system is the kids are tucked away in bed and I'm forced to live in Everglades from 7 at night until 7 in the morning. At 7 in the morning I can go wherever I want, do whatever I want and nobody's following me, nobody's questioning me, nobody says anything," DaCosta told Local 10's Roger Lohse.
- More proof the legislature is NOT using their brains! Makes no sense. I could understand a burglar who usually robbed people at night, but this is just crazy!

State law prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school but nearly every city in South Florida wants them back even further, most as much as 2,500 feet, and that's a half of a mile from anywhere kids congregate.

As a result, DaCosta and many others can't find a legal place to live. The restrictions only require registered offenders to keep their distance at night, however. During the day they're not bound by any restrictions. Most of them, like DaCosta, have friends and family in the area where they spend their days, even if the home is near a school.

When DaCosta was released from prison in November, the Department of Corrections gave him a letter, telling him to report to the Oakland Park Boulevard bridge over the Intracostal Waterway in Fort Lauderdale.
- If you are out of prison, how can anybody force you into this kind of life style?

DaCosta and nine others had been spending their nights there until last week when police kicked them out. Local 10 has learned that shortly after the Department of Transportation realized the Department of Corrections was using its bridge to house ex-cons at night, a transportation inspector filed a trespass affadavit with the city, giving police authority to remove everyone from the bridge.

According to the DOT and the DOC, the offenders were supposed to be given seven days to find a legal place to spend their nights but officers told them to leave anyway. DaCosta and the others are sleeping in a tent in the swamp, but when daylight comes they head east to look for work and a legal place to live.
- Who is going to be responsible when these people get killed by an alligator or something? I can see a HUGE lawsuit coming... DEATH BY STATE APPROVAL!

"So when I ride my bike from the Everglades back to Davie and I pass schools, I pass day care centers, I pass school bus stops, who's monitoring me? If I was a sexual predator or a sex offender, who's there watching me? The kids are no safer. We need to come up with a program where convicted sex offenders are monitored during the day. I mean this 7 to 7 curfew at night and making me live in the Everglades is ridiculous, it's simply ridiculous," he said.
- If the offender is off probation and parole, and is not a danger, then NOBODY should be allowed to monitor them, period. They've done their time. Tax the tax payers, make them pay for the insane monitoring equipment, they wanted the laws, or at least that is what the legislature says.


MN - MySpace's safety plan isn't enough for parents

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Also, why isn't anyone teaching kids and parents about content filtering software that would block questionable material like porn, hate groups, etc? Here is a Google page of links. I prefer ZoneAlarm personally, but there is tons of other good software programs out there to stop kids from seeing smut and other stuff. Here is some tutorials and others.

01/23/2008

If you're the parent of a teenager and a new business opens in town that suddenly becomes "the spot" for children to hang out, would you let your teen attend without checking out the place?

What if, a few months later, the place makes news because of complaints about altercations or suspicious adults being among the clientele? What would you do then?

Obviously, the answers we're looking for are for parents to get involved.

The same holds true in the wake of an agreement announced this month between the social-networking Web site MySpace and 49 state attorneys general, including Minnesota.

Sure, MySpace may be a virtual meeting spot, but it and other social-networking sites can be the unintentional homes for real danger — just like a local hangout.

With that in mind and at the behest of parents and authorities, the MySpace deal is meant to make the popular Web site (and perhaps, eventually, other similar competitors) safer for minors.

Among the plan's highlights: It lets parents and MySpace combine to keep children from creating MySpace pages; it makes it harder for strangers to access pages of 16- and 17-year-old users; and it creates a national task force of sorts that will continue to examine and improve Web safety.
- If you are not considered an adult, why not 18 as well? And what about younger than 16?

While the plan is certainly a welcome first step, it's not nearly enough to give parents an excuse to ignore the cyberlives of their children.

How so? The best example is the plan to let parents share their child's e-mail address with MySpace so that MySpace can ban the child from setting up a page. Even minimally experienced Net users can create multiple e-mail accounts using any number of Web sites. If parents don't know about those accounts, they can't tell MySpace.

Similar realities apply to the plan's steps regarding age. How is MySpace going to verify a user's age? Not that a teenager or sexual predator would ever lie.

Such porous-but-PR-friendly steps are exactly why parents must get involved in their teens' high-tech lives.

Of course, that can be a daunting task for those people who are not computer experts. Still, just as responsible parents would learn about potential dangers in their geographic communities, they can learn about those that reside in cyberspace.

A couple of good starting points are the FBI and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. The former offers its Parents' Guide to Internet Safety available at www.fbi.gov/publications/pguide/pguidee.htm. The latter, www.missingkids.com, connects parents with its NetSmartz program, which it and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America developed to educate parents, children and the community about protecting minors who use the Net.

There are other resources available that range from help via your Internet service provider to companies that sell software designed to monitor — sometimes quite secretly — how computers are being used.

Amid all those options, though, it's worth noting that the most common suggestion offered in protecting children using the Net is for their parents to communicate with them.

It may sound simple, but clearly it's an age-old strategy that applies even in cyberspace.


FL - Schools try to help children learn how to be careful on Internet

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01/22/2008

By WENDI ZONGKER, My Nassau Sun

An estimated one in seven youths aged 10 to 17 are solicited sexually over the Internet each year, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
- By whom? Adults or other children?

And technology, particularly blogs and Internet social sites, has changed everything about safety training in schools, said Andreu Powell, Nassau County School District intervention and prevention coordinator.

"Even something that could seem as innocuous as, 'My brother and I spend a lot of time together. I pick him up every day at 2:30 p.m. and we walk home together,' Powell said.

"If there's a sexual predator out there he knows there are two kids who will be walking home alone from school. It may not sound like much to kids, but to the predators out there, it's a lot of information."

Powell said many school district programs focus on middle-school students who are starting to learn about the world in more detail and need more safety tools.

"All you can do is keep drilling that message over and over again into a kid's head that there are certain things you don't do," Powell said. "As long as we give them the knowledge, the kids will have some tools to work with."

Kimberly Clemmons, middle grades drug and violence prevention coordinator, said she purchased Be Safe in MySpace last spring for use by parents, students, law enforcement, and school administrators as a resource to discuss Internet safety. The program also includes tips for students about how to stay safe when surfing the Internet.

But the danger isn't just on the Internet.

An estimated 90 percent of rape victims under the age of 12 know their attacker, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. And more than 300,000 children are abducted each year by a family member.
- More statistics here and here.

And that message is being sent loud and clear to Nassau County middle-school students, Clemmons said.

Linda Morris, district director for elementary education, said teachers take everyday events as an opportunity to talk about safety.

"You weave those concepts into regular instruction so not to alarm kids or make them afraid," she said. "They have to understand that there's danger and we don't know where the danger is sometimes, but we have to pay attention."



Safety tips

Nassau County School District officials offer these tips for student safety:

Tips for parents

  • Know your children's friends.
  • Know the parents of your children's friends.
  • Keep computers in a common room of the house and talk about safe Internet surfing. Discuss the dangers of the Internet with your children.

Tips for children

  • Take your parents' advice.
  • Always let someone know where you are.
  • Don't go out alone.
  • Listen to your conscience. Avoid situations that don't feel right.
  • Find an adult or trusted friend to talk to if you feel unsafe.
  • Don't try to confront an offender.

For additional resources on keeping your children safe, visit Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum's Web site, myfloridalegal.com and click on Child Safety.~~~coming saturday

In Saturday's My Nassau Sun, the Nassau County Sheriff's Office guide to registered sexual predators and offenders in Nassau County. And online every day at mynassausun.com, there's a searchable database of registered offenders. Just move your cursor over the News menu on the front page, and click on Sexual Offenders on the drop-down menu.


IN - Internet crimes measure advances

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What about their own kids? Not all sex offenders are removed from their kids.

01/23/2008

By John Byrne Post-Tribune staff writer

A bill to make it a crime for convicted sex offenders to approach minors on the Internet cleared a legislative hurdle Tuesday.

Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh (Email), D-Crown Point, said House Bill 1134 is an extension of other laws to protect children from sexual predators.

The bill would make it a felony for a convicted sex offender to make contact with a minor or somebody believed to be a minor on social networking Web sites like Myspace or Facebook.

"Anyone who thinks they know what their kids are doing 24 hours a day is just naive," VanDenburgh said after the bill passed the House Judiciary Committee with a unanimous vote.

Contact John Byrne at 317/631-7400 or jbyrne@post-trib.com


AZ - Online registry won't stop child sex abuse

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01/23/2008

Opinion by Eric Van Meter

A recent amendment to Arizona law requires that as of Jan. 31 Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders in Arizona must provide the state with all "online identifiers" they use: e-mail addresses, chat names, et cetera. As a victim of childhood sexual abuse and someone who grew up in a family deformed by it, I care deeply about dealing with sex crimes. At the same time, I'm frustrated and discouraged by the way we continue to wrongly address the issue.

It's true that MySpace reported last summer that it had found 29,000 sex offenders among its members. Great. But the people MySpace "found" weren't hiding. I can't imagine that the highest-risk targets will comply with full disclosure and I can all but guarantee that a felon trolling for sex online isn't going to offer up his "hot4teens" screen name.

Because anyone can register for free online services using fake information then access those services from public computers, Arizona's law can't be enforced.

Ultimately, this amendment only adds another layer of meaningless busy work for government employees, who will maintain a database of information on the people we least need worry about. The database will lack the gritty, potentially useful data our naive legislators want.

Even worse, this amendment takes time and money from solutions focused on prevention, treatment and stopping offenders who haven't been convicted. After all, the greatest threat comes from offenders not yet caught.

Consider the following:

Studies overwhelmingly indicate that the vast majority of sex-crime convictions are not recidivist crimes. For example, comparing FBI crime statistics with the findings of the massive 1998 Hanson and Bussiere meta-analysis on sex-offense research indicates that more than 95 percent of rape convictions between 1990 and 1994 were first sex-offense convictions.

A 1990 meta-study by the Freedom from Religion Foundation documented that 190 clergy convicted of molesting children were found to have abused 847 victims — some abused hundreds, even thousands, of times — before they were caught. Investigators believe these clergy had actually abused at least 4,000 children.

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that nearly seven out of 10 rape victims ages 18 to 29 have relationships with those who rape them; for victims ages 11 and younger, 90 percent know their offenders.

No study is without problems, and statistics don't paint a full picture. But research produces a clear fact time and again: Our greatest concern shouldn't be the known sex offender who lives nearby and uses a real name on MySpace.

Our greatest concern must be everyone else, people who have not served time, people our children interact with every week: teachers, priests, babysitters, neighbors, cousins, siblings, grandparents and parents. Our greatest concern must be dealing with potential offenders before they strike and educating children and their caregivers on how to avoid victimization.

Sexual offense and its lasting damage plagues this country. Laws requiring that prior offenders register their online identities lull people into a false sense that we're doing something about the problem. We're not.

Write to the author at eric@wordmoxie.com.


UK - Paedophile teacher commits suicide

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01/23/2008

A paedophile teacher due to be extradited to the Netherlands for importing child pornography has committed suicide.

Keith Hudson, 54, was due to fly to serve five months in a Dutch prison but did not turn up to Heathrow Airport.

Hudson, who ran private tuition company Sussex Learning Centre, had been granted bail on stringent conditions including the payment of a £10,000 security to City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in central London.
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A hearing to order the forfeiture of the money was arranged for today.

But Amelia Nice, for the Dutch authorities, told the court: "He failed to report to Heathrow. It has since been brought to our attention that apparently he has died.

"Apparently he committed suicide."

Hudson, of Willowmead, Crowborough, has previous convictions in the UK for similar offences, had signed on as a sex offender for four years and been banned from working with boys.

He was found guilty of five counts of moving and concealing indecent material at Croydon Crown Court, following an operation by Dover customs officers in 1998.

A Care Standards Tribunal had heard he was not a risk to girls and limited the court's earlier ban on teaching all children.

Education bosses at East Sussex County Council issued a warning to all schools in the area after the discovery that he was touting for business.

Then in 2002 he was found guilty of importing and stocking indecent images of boys in the Netherlands between April and December 1999.

However he was not in court for his sentence and a bid for his extradition from this country was later launched.

The disgraced tutor was arrested by Sussex and Met detectives at his home last month.

He lost his fight against his return and a Westminster judge ordered his extradition on December 27 last year.

Hudson was trusted to turn up to Heathrow on January 11 on stringent bail conditions including residence at his home address, daily reporting to police, and to have no contact with any person under 18.

On hearing the report of his death District Judge Quentin Purdy said he required confirmation from a police officer and adjourned the hearing to February 6.

The judge said if he has died the £10,000 would be returned.


UT - 'Jessica's Law' clears house committee

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01/23/2008

The so-called "Jessica's Law" is advancing in the Utah State Legislature.

HB256 would increase the penalties for certain types of sex offenses against children. It would also up the penalties for those who strike plea deals, pleading guilty to "attempted" offenses.

"This satisfies the necessary public outcry for stiffer penalties for child molesters," said Rep. Carl Wimmer (Email), R-Herriman, the bill's sponsor.

Rape of a child, sodomy on a child and object rape of a child could have a 25-years-to-life sentence. The parole board still retains some authority to deviate from that sentence, Wimmer said. "Attempted" charges would get a standardized sentence of 15-years-to-life, but the measure grants the judge the ability to deviate to a minimum of 3, 6, or 10-years-to-life in prison.

This version of the bill would likely increase the number of plea deals, sparing child victims the pain of testifying at a trial, Wimmer said, but does not deprive the courts or the parole board of any authority.

"It ultimately sets Utah as the gold standard across the nation," Wimmer said.

"Jessica's Law" is named after Jessica Lunsford, a little girl who was raped and murdered in 2005 in Florida by a convicted sex offender. The House Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Standing Committee unanimously approved advancing the bill.


GA - Minority Report Filed on HB 908

View the article here

Dear friends,

We're happy to share that a minority report for HB 908 (basically an official dissent from the members who voted against it) was filed today and signed by 5 members of House Judiciary NonCivil Committee:

View the Minority Report

This report will be printed and attached to all copies of HB 908 that are distributed to the members of the House on the day of the floor vote. We are very happy and grateful that members of the House will have the benefit of the information contained in this report when they make their decision on how to vote on HB 908

Please take a moment to send these thank you messages to the five members who signed and submitted this report whose email addresses can be found here:

Representative Roberta Abdul Salaam
Representative Stacey Abrams
Representative Stephanie Stuckey Benfield,
Representative Randal Mangham
Representative Robert Mumford

Thanks in advance for your help! We also include the latest editorial from the Atlanta Journal Constitution in opposition to the residency restrictions contained in HB 908.

All the best,

Sara, Sarah, Lisa, James, Gerry, Shareef and Mica

http://www.ajc.com/opinion/content/opinion/stories/2008/01/17/offended_0118.html

Instinctive, ill-advised
Reinstating work, residency rules on sex offenders will force predators underground

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 01/18/08

The sexual abuse of children provokes two responses: an instinctive, blindly emotional reaction of anger at the victimization of an innocent child, and a more rational reaction designed to prevent such heinous acts from happening in the future.

In voting to reinstate blanket residency and work limits on all sex offenders, a legislative committee has succumbed entirely to the first response and ignored the second, more productive reaction. The results, if approved by the Legislature as a whole, would be counterproductive for children.

Under previous Georgia law, one of the most restrictive in the country, all those convicted of sex-related offenses were treated as sexual predators. They were forbidden to live near parks, playgrounds, skating rinks, neighborhood centers, gymnasiums, school bus stops and community swimming pools. They also could not legally work near a child care facility, school or church.

After those limits were struck down by the state Supreme Court in November, the Legislature was given a chance to revisit the state's approach. But House Bill 908 — approved by the House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee on Wednesday — repeats mistakes of earlier laws and will leave many sex offenders homeless and unemployed, fueling the instability that increases the risk of repeat crimes.

The House committee shrugged off the testimony of six legal and behavioral experts who warned that the draconian restrictions would cause offenders to go underground, drop out of treatment and stop registering their whereabouts with the state, the worst-case scenario for keeping kids safe.

"The more stable the offender, the less likely they are to commit new crimes," researcher Kevin Baldwin said.

"More than a score of states have tried residency restrictions, and there is still no proof they work," psychologist James E. Stark testified, adding that Georgia law already requires that sex offenders meet with probation officers, undergo home checks and polygraphs and get treatment.

Nor was the committee fazed by the fundamental unfairness of a law that would subject someone convicted of consensual sex as a teenager to the same restrictions applied to a 35-year-old who preyed on 11-year-olds.

For example, student Narada Williams, 21, cannot live in his college dorm because of a day-care center on his campus. Why? Because at age 17, Williams engaged in oral sex with a willing 15-year-old, which at the time was a felony under Georgia law, requiring that Williams register as a sex offender. The offense has since been reduced to a misdemeanor with no requirement to register, but the change was not retroactive and Williams still wears the sex-offender label.

"It is a scarlet letter that follows him everywhere," says his father, Robert Williams. "I have always been raised to believe that molesting a child is worse than murdering someone. For such a young man to have that on his shoulders for an act with a peer is hard for me to digest. It seems like something out of a third world country."

Maureen Downey, for the editorial board

Sara J. Totonchi
Public Policy Director
Law Offices of the Southern Center for Human Rights
83 Poplar Street, N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303
404/688-1202 voice
404/688-9440 fax
stotonchi@schr.org


KS - Former police officer faces sex abuse charges

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01/23/2008

A former part-time Conway Springs police officer was ordered held without bond Tuesday after he was charged with sexually abusing an 11-year-old Wichita girl.

Bradley Whorton, 53, was charged in Sedgwick County District Court with two counts each of aggravated criminal sodomy and aggravated indecent liberties with a child. District Judge Eric Yost set a Feb. 5 preliminary hearing date.

The girl's 38-year-old mother also was charged Tuesday with one count of aggravated child endangerment, and her bond was set at $100,000.

The girl's 33-year-old father, who lives in Florence, has been arrested in connection with the case, but Marion County officials said he had yet to make a court appearance.

The Eagle does not identify victims of alleged sex crimes and is not naming the parents to protect the child's privacy.

Wichita police said the abuse started in October 2006 and occurred in Wichita, where the girl lived with her mother, and in Florence.

The girl reported the abuse to a school district employee last week, and the employee notified authorities.

Whorton was fired from his part-time police job after officials in Conway Springs learned of his arrest.


OK - Jailer Gave Lip Service To Inmate - emale guard performed New Year's Eve sex act in cell



A 20-year-old female corrections officer is facing sex assault charges for allegedly performing oral sex on a male inmate on New Year's Eve in an Oklahoma jail. Billie Pelley told investigators that she entered inmate Bobby Mann's cell and began kissing the 37-year-old inmate "for a while." She then advanced to servicing Mann, but "stopped after thinking about what she was doing," according to a probable cause affidavit filed earlier this month in Okfuskee County District Court. By then, however, Pelley's encounter with Mann had already been recorded by a surveillance camera. When a dispatcher, Andrea Million, subsequently entered Cell 10, she found Pelley sitting on the side of Mann's bed. During an interview with a sheriff's investigator, Pelley admitted the sexual contact with the prisoner, who is awaiting trial on a bomb threat count. Pelley was charged last week with forcible sodomy, a felony, since Mann was not legally "capable of giving legal consent" because he is in custody. Prosecutors concede, however, that Mann, not surprisingly, consented to the oral sex. Pelley and Mann are pictured below in mug shots snapped by the Okfuskee County Sheriff. While Pelley quickly bonded out of jail after her arraignment, Mann remains in the Oklahoma lockup.


TX - Probe of judge goes beyond sex allegations

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01/20/2008

GALVESTON — The FBI’s investigation of a Galveston County federal judge is looking into more than just sexual misconduct allegations.

The Daily News was told last week that federal agents had been interviewing Galveston restaurateurs about who U.S. District Judge Samuel B. Kent had dined and drank with throughout the years, and who has picked up the tab.

Dick DeGuerin, Kent’s attorney, on Friday confirmed that the federal probe extended beyond claims of sexual misconduct.

“They’re being as thorough as they can be and they’re investigating all the rumors that have been going on for years,” DeGuerin said.

There’s always been rumors that Judge Kent favored certain lawyers or other lawyers were in disfavor with him, but his response has been real simple: Just take any lawyer and look at his win-loss record in his court. You look at any lawyers who are his friends — and he does have some lawyers who are his friends — none of them has any better win-loss record in his court than any other lawyer. In fact, some don’t have as good of a record.”

The FBI’s Houston office couldn’t be reached for comment for this story.

Kent, 58, who was Galveston’s lone federal judge from 1990 until last September, is under investigation after his case manager, Cathy McBroom, in May accused him of touching her in ways she didn’t want.

The Southern District of Texas in August announced that Kent would take a four-month “intended leave of absence” starting in August, but it didn’t say why. Then in September, just after The Daily News reported the existence of McBroom’s complaint, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals formally reprimanded Kent. The Southern District is part of the 5th Circuit. Kent’s reprimand was the first handed down anywhere in the United States in five years.

The reprimand only said that a “sexual harassment” complaint had been made against the judge and that an investigation turned up other, unspecified allegations.

McBroom’s attorney, former prosecutor Rusty Hardin, has maintained that what Kent is accused of doing to his client is a crime, rather than simple harassment. DeGuerin, Kent’s attorney, said the allegations are false.

In the ensuing uproar, the National Organization for Women called on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee to investigate and possibly impeach Kent.

Federal judges are appointed to the bench for life. The only way they can be removed is for the House to vote to impeach them and for the Senate to vote to remove them.

The Judiciary Committee said it would await the outcome of a criminal investigation into Kent’s actions before taking up the matter. Similarly, the 5th Circuit has said a decision to consider further punishment of Kent is on hold, pending the results of the criminal probe.

But the details unearthed this week indicate that the probe extends beyond McBroom’s allegations.

Kent publicly acknowledged having a drinking problem and sometimes drinking during workdays, in an article in the Houston Chronicle last week. Now the FBI appears to be looking into who might have picked up the tab when that drinking took place.

The judge has long been rumored to have favored some lawyers with whom he socialized and who practiced in his court.

In 2001, the Southern District removed 85 cases from Kent’s court, citing a heavy caseload as the reason. However, an attorney on all 85 was Richard Melancon, Kent’s close friend who hosted the reception for the judge’s second wedding.

DeGuerin, however, on Friday said that if the FBI did a thorough investigation of Kent’s social life, it would find nothing improper.

“Sometimes Judge Kent would pay for a meal; sometimes somebody else would pay for a meal,” DeGuerin said. “That’s the way it is among friends. There was never any kind of quid pro quo. There was never any discussion of cases or anything of that nature.”

Such social relationships are simply normal for a man like Kent, DeGuerin said.

“Sam Kent is a friendly guy,” he said. “He maintains a lot of friendships and some of those friends are lawyers. There’s not a thing in the world that’s wrong with that. He doesn’t show favoritism.”


FL - Davie activist (Valerie Parkhurst) cleared for pointing gun at sex offender

Valerie Parkhurst
View the article here

If the man/women did not threaten her in any way, then she doesn't have a right to just pull a gun on someone and threaten to kill them, regardless of who they are. If they threatened her, then she has every right to protect herself.

01/23/2008

Prosecutors won't file charges against an activist accused of threatening to kill a registered sex offender, saying she acted in self-defense, according to documents released Tuesday.

Valerie Parkhurst (aka Valigator), 52, faced felony charges of aggravated assault with a firearm and carrying concealed weapons after she pointed two guns at [name withheld], 49, in Davie on Dec. 1. Parkhurst and her attorney, Eric Schwartzreich, met with prosecutors in early January, and the State Attorney's Office decided Friday not to file formal charges.

"The defendant appears to have acted in self-defense having knowledge of [name withheld]' prior violent sexual offender conviction," Assistant State Attorney Jules R. Cohn wrote in a memo. He added there would be "no likelihood of conviction."

[name withheld] said the decision is biased.

"The bottom line is they're taking her side of the case," [name withheld] said. "They're sending a message that allows somebody to break the law and point or fire a pistol at anybody. It's vigilante-style law."

Police had said Parkhurst threatened to kill [name withheld] and his girlfriend, [girlfriend name withheld], when the couple drove onto a street where Parkhurst was handing out sex offender warning fliers. The street was a couple of miles from [name withheld]' home, where Parkhurst had passed out fliers about him earlier and had words with [girlfriend name withheld].

During the confrontation in the 4600 block of Southwest 66th Avenue, a dead-end street, Parkhurst said she thought the couple was following her and asked them to back up. The couple, who told police they were heading to a store and made a wrong turn, said they had trouble backing up.
- Doesn't look like a dead-end to me.

Parkhurst said she became scared for her life and took a pistol out of her truck to scare them off. Another heated exchange followed, and when Parkhurst retrieved a shotgun, [name withheld] called police.

In his memo, Cohn said Parkhurst's actions were legally acceptable under the Castle Doctrine, which allows people to protect their homes, and themselves in public places, if they feel threatened with death or bodily harm.

Valerie at a local bar
[name withheld]' and [girlfriend name withheld]'s credibility is also weak, the memo said. He is a felon and she has outstanding warrants for a pending worthless-checks case in Jacksonville.
- Just because they have a record doesn't mean their credibility is shot!  If that is the case, Valerie has a record as well, from what I've been told. 

Ron Ishoy, a spokesman for the State Attorney's Office, said the concealed weapons charge was dropped because "it appears the defendant's firearm was securely encased in a holster before it was removed for purposes of self-defense."

Possessing a concealed weapon without a license is lawful if the item is not readily accessible for immediate use, Ishoy said.

"We're very pleased with the State Attorney's resolution of the case," Schwartzreich said.

Parkhurst applied for and is enrolled in classes to qualify for a concealed weapons permit.

"I'm up in arms over this," [name withheld] said. "They're allowing her to get a permit, after the fact. I find that very upsetting."
- Yeah, who is she going to threaten next?

See Also:


Will states say 'no' to Adam Walsh Act?

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The text in bold black below is the real reason for these laws, MONEY!

01/23/2008

Facing a 2009 deadline to comply with a controversial federal law intended to crack down on sex offenders, states are nearing a crossroads. They either must fall in line with the statute or ignore it and absorb the penalty — a 10-percent cut to their share of funds in a congressional grant program used to fight crime.

With most state legislatures reconvening this month, debate is likely to resume soon over the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which President Bush signed in 2006.

The sweeping law, named after the murdered 6-year-old son of “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh, requires states to adopt, by July next year, strict new standards for registering sex offenders and providing public information about their crimes and whereabouts. It calls on states to publish photos and addresses of sex offenders online and dramatically toughens criminal penalties for those who fail to register, among other provisions.

For months, however, state legislators across the country have criticized the law as a “one-size-fits-all approach” that does not give states enough time, money or flexibility to make the changes sought by the federal government.

Critics point out that the U.S. Justice Department has yet to issue final guidelines for states to follow, leaving them with roughly half the time originally allotted by Congress to comply with the act. A Justice Department spokeswoman, Sarah Matz, said the guidelines still are being evaluated internally.

Strenuous objections also have been raised by states and advocacy groups over some of the act’s provisions. One in particular has raised concern: a requirement that some juveniles as young as 14 be listed on states’ online sex-offender registries. Most states do not include juveniles on online registries, and juvenile-rights advocates say listing young offenders on the Internet could subject them to harassment or violence.
- Same goes for ANY sex offender. They are constantly being harassed, beaten and killed, just check out my DEATH, STABBED, SUICIDE and VIGILANTE links.

You’re damaging their lives and not serving any public safety,” said Sarah Bryer, director of the National Juvenile Justice Network. Bryer said juvenile sex offenders can be rehabilitated and are not as likely as adults to repeat their crimes.
- But you fail to mention that even adults have a low recidivism rate, see here and here.

Citing those complaints and others, state lawmakers are questioning whether it makes sense to comply with the act by its 2009 deadline, if at all, said Donna Lyons, a criminal justice analyst with the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), an alliance representing the nation’s state legislators. The organization recently released a policy statementapproved unanimously by more than 7,000 state lawmakers — seeking congressional amendments to revise the act.

“States are looking at cost-benefit analyses and asking, ‘Is it worth the 10 percent we’re going to lose?’” Lyons said, referring to the penalty states would face for not complying with the act — a 10-percent reduction in criminal justice funding provided by the Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program.

States use Byrne grants to pay for drug task forces, anti-gang units, police overtime and other law enforcement activities. But funding for the grant program itself was slashed by 67 percent — from $520 million last fiscal year to $170 million this year — in a $555 billion appropriations bill signed by Bush last month.
- Where is all this money bush is signing away coming from? Thin air?

That deep cut has figured into state lawmakers’ thinking as they compare the costs of complying with the Adam Walsh Act with the costs of not complying, said Susan Parnas Frederick, senior committee director of NCSL's Law and Criminal Justice Committee in Washington.

What’s 10 percent of nothing, anyway? Maybe we’ll just do what we’re doing, lose the 10 percent and not have to deal with all this garbage,” Frederick said.

At least six states — Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada and Ohio — last year revised sex-offender laws in an effort to comply with the act. The Justice Department rejected Louisiana’s efforts as not enough, and has yet to rule on the other states’ laws, many of which went into effect Jan. 1.

States found to “substantially comply” with the act by July of this year are eligible for extra federal dollars for sex offender management. Frederick said federal financial incentives may motivate states to comply with the act, despite many lawmakers’ objections.

Matz, of the U.S. Justice Department, noted that states can apply for a pair of one-year extensions under the act if they fail to comply by next year’s deadline. Extensions must be approved on a case-by-case basis by Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey.

“We want to give people enough time. We want to be available for assistance,” Matz said.

In Ohio, legal challenges to the state’s three-week-old law already are mounting. Lawyers have challenged a provision of the law making new registration rules retroactive to old cases — another requirement under the Adam Walsh Act. The state recently sent notices to thousands of sex offenders informing them of new registration obligations.
- And wasting millions of tax payers money in legal funds for these law suits due to draconian laws.

Jon Paul Rion, a Dayton criminal defense attorney whose firm is representing more than 35 sex offenders with challenges to the new law, told Stateline.org the provision for retroactivity violates constitutional guarantees by imposing punishments beyond those originally handed down by courts.

But the Ohio attorney general’s office, which helped craft the state’s version of the Adam Walsh Act, has stood by the law, claiming that registration is not criminal punishment, but a civil regulatory measure that enhances public safety.
- BS!!! If it's not punishment, why is punishment all through SB-10? Because it IS punishment, you are just wording it differently to not violate the Constitution which you took an oath of office (which was apparently a lie) to uphold.

See related stories:

Federal spending plan slashes anti-crime grants

New laws take 'Romeo' into account

Anti sex-offender zoning laws challenged


WA - Ex-Cop Pleaded Not Guilty to Child Molestation, Sex on the Job

View the article here | Related Article

01/22/2008

WALLA WALLA -- He was on duty and on the prowl.

At least, that's what the State Attorney General's office is claiming about former Walla Walla police officer Raymond Clayton.

The State is charging Clayton with one count of child molestation and one count of official misconduct.

He pleaded not guilty to both charges when he made his first appearance in a Walla Walla court Tuesday.

Action News was told there was a large group of Clayton's family and friends at the courthouse to support him.

According to court documents, Clayton is accused of molesting a 15-year-old girl back in 2002.

An investigation revealed that it was the child molestation accusations, as well as several other sexual accusations with women, that cost Clayton his job at the Walla Walla police department last September.

Child molestation is a felony.

Clayton originally faced five criminal counts, including three additional counts of official misconduct.

A police report reveals several claims, made by alleged victims, that the former cop had sex with several women while on duty, all over town.

But the State dropped those additional counts because time ran out to prosecute them.

Action News talked to one of those women, Tuesday, whose name was documented in that police report.

She claims she willingly fooled around with Clayton while he was in uniform, but believes he used his badge to bait women.

She asked Action News to hide her face and disguise her voice.

"I'm really messed up emotionally about it," she said. "because I knew I made my mistake but now I'm scared. I shouldn't be scared of an officer. They're there to protect us."

It's unclear in the court papers if this is the woman related to the current count of misconduct.

Action News spoke with Clayton on the phone Tuesday to hear his side of the story.

He was very cordial but did not want to make a public statement at the time.

Action News also tried reaching Clayton's defense attorneys.

Court papers report a team from Spokane is representing him.

They were not immediately available.

If Clayton is convicted he could serve six years in prison.

He's set to go to trial in April.


IA - Cedar Rapids police officer stripped of duties

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01/18/2008

CEDAR RAPIDS - A Cedar Rapids police officer will never wear a law enforcement uniform anywhere again, according to an agreement between the officer and the government.

The agreement is part of a guilty plea Kevin Sims, 36, made to a federal misdemeanor charge Friday in U.S. District Court.

He admitted that while he was on duty as a police officer, he intentionally denied a citizen of rights provided by the Constitution when they had consensual sexual relations following a traffic stop.

Sims admitted he was a patrol officer in spring 2004 when he stopped at a bar about 1 a.m. to conduct a bar check. While there he greeted a woman he knew from previous bar checks.

A half-hour after Sims conducted the bar check, he used the emergency lights on his police car to stop the woman as she drove down Center Point Road. He did not alert the dispatcher he had stopped a vehicle as required by police department policy.

When Sims approached the woman, she told him she had a suspended license. Normal procedures required Sims to take her identification and call the dispatcher to verify her driving status. Instead, Sims took her to Daniels Park.

At the park Sims and the woman had intimate relations while Sims was still on duty, in his police uniform with his firearm still in his holster.

The woman voluntarily engaged in the acts believing that by doing so she would escape any criminal charges. Sims did not arrest the woman and did not issue a citation for driving on a suspended license. He did not report the traffic stop to the dispatcher or his supervisor.

In 2007, when Sims was interviewed about the incident by two FBI agents, he denied involvement. Later, when the agents presented more information, he admitted he had sexual relations with the woman.

Sims will be sentenced by Judge Jon Scoles following completion of a presentence report by the probation office.

He faces up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine. Scoles released Sims without bail to await sentencing.