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Hey, check out BadCopNews.com as well. This site shows you the corrupt cops and others as well. There is also CopWatch, but I've not been able to get onto the main site.
A new web service that lets users rate and comment on the uniformed police officers in their community is scrambling to restore service Tuesday, after hosting company GoDaddy unceremonious pulled-the-plug on the site in the wake of outrage from criticism-leery cops.
Visitors to RateMyCop.com on Tuesday were redirected to a GoDaddy page reading, "Oops!!!", which urged the site owner to contact GoDaddy to find out why the company pulled the plug.
RateMyCop founder Gino Sesto says he was given no notice of the suspension. When he called GoDaddy, the company told him that he'd been shut down for "suspicious activity."
When Sesto got a supervisor on the phone, the company changed its story and claimed the site had surpassed its 3 terabyte bandwidth limit, a claim that Sesto says is nonsense. "How can it be overloaded when it only had 80,00 page views today, and 400,000 yesterday?"
Police departments became uneasy about RateMyCop's plans to watch the watchers in January, when the Culver City, California, startup began issuing public information requests for lists of uniformed officers.
Then the site went live on February 28th. It stores the names and, in some cases, badge numbers of over 140,000 cops in as many as 500 police departments, and allows users to post comments about police they've interacted with, and rate them. The site garnered media interest this week as cops around the country complained that they'd be put at risk if their names were on the internet.
"Having a website like that puts a lot of law enforcement, in my eyes, in danger because it exposes us out there," Officer Hector Basurto, vice president of the Latino Police Officers Association, told ABC television affiliate KGO.
Since undercover officers aren't in the database, and the site has no personal information like home addresses, that fear seems unfounded. Chief Jerry Dyer, president of the California Police Chiefs Association, voices what sounds like a more honest concern: that officers will face "unfair maligning" by the citizens they serve.
Sesto says police can post comments as well, and a future version of the site will allow them to authenticate themselves to post rebuttals more prominently. Chief Dyer wants to get legislation passed that would make RateMyCop.com illegal, which, of course, wouldn't pass constitutional muster in any court in America.
Unfortunately for the startup, the company it chose for hosting is known to be quick to censor its customers. In January of last year, GoDaddy took down entire computer security website -- delisting it from DNS -- to get a single, archived mailing list post off the web.
On that occasion, at least, it gave the site's owner 60 seconds notice. GoDaddy notified Seto by posting its "Oops!" message to his public website.
"You put on my website for me to call you, when you have my phone number?," says Sesto.
March 12, 2008 | 6:00:00 PM RackSpace Cops Out. Sesto says he'd arranged for the Texas-based hosting firm RackSpace to take over permanent hosting for RateMyCop.com, and paid them $2,000 for the first two months of service. But he heard from RackSpace's lawyer minutes ago, and the deal is off.
"We believe that the website to be found at www.ratemycop.com as described to our sales representative could create a risk to the health and safety of law enforcement officers," wrote general counsel Beth Sherfy, in an e-mail to the startup provided by Sesto.
Sherfy didn't immediately return a phone call from THREAT LEVEL.
At the moment, the site has temporary hosting on its own server, but Sesto says it won't be able to handle the kind of traffic he expects as RateMyCop.com becomes more popular. He doesn't sound too worried, and there's little doubt that he'll be able to find a hosting company.
Our prediction: A year from now RateMyCop.com will have won public service awards. Good cops, and clean departments, will have come to think of the site as a friend, and its founders will be sought-after speakers at police gatherings. Hosting companies that reject them on "health and safety" grounds will look like fools and cowards.
March 12, 2008 | 19:40:00 PM GoDaddy Breaks Its Silence. The company insists the RateMyCop.com takedown had nothing to do with the content of the site.
"The site's operator has publicly disclosed the concerns were over bandwidth," spokeswoman Elizabeth Driscoll writes in an e-mail "More accurately, GoDaddy's concerns were about how the RateMyCop site was far exceeding the amount of server usage for which it had contracted."
I asked for clarification, and Driscoll agreed with Sesto that RateMyCop.com hadn't exceeded its monthly bandwidth allotment. But the spike in popularity that followed the police backlash resulted in far more simultaneous connections than GoDaddy can handle under the low-budget shared hosting plan Sesto signed up for.
There's no hard contractual limit on the number of connections a customer can receive at once, but Driscoll says GoDaddy pulled the plug under a broad provision of its terms-of-service that lets it "remove your website temporarily or permanently from its virtual dedicated servers if GoDaddy is the recipient of activities that threaten the stability of its network."
"Basically, he was paying for compact car, when he really needed a semi-truck," Driscoll writes. "The customer was not willing to work with our staff to resolve the issue."
Sesto refutes that last part, and says GoDaddy didn't contact him before cutting off the site.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
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SLOATSBURG—The former Rockland County prosecutor and hockey mom, accused of serving alcohol to minors at her home, smoking marijuana with teens in her car and engaging in sexual acts with underage males at both her residence and the homes of two underage boys, has been offered a plea deal.
If Beth Modica, 44, pleads guilty to the charges against her, Supreme Court Justice Catherine Bartlett has promised her a sentence of one to three years in state prison. The maximum sentence is 1 1/3 to 4 years. Upon completion of her sentence, she would have no probation. She would lose her law license and would have to register as a sex offender.
Prosecutors had offered Modica a deal of one year in the county jail followed by 10 years of probation in exchange for her guilty plea but Judge Bartlett rejected it, insisting on state prison time and complaining that the maximum penalty for statutory rape was the same as that for possession of a stolen credit card.
The judge gave Modica two weeks to mull the offer but Modica’s lawyer said that she wouldn’t accept it.
Modica was indicted in January on a 35-count indictment, charging her with statutory rape, sexual abuse and child endangerment.
The estranged wife of Spring Valley police chief Paul Modica, she is the former deputy town attorney n Ramapo and assistant village attorney in Sloatsburg. She was discharged in December, reportedly for reasons unrelated to the criminal charges.
She is the mother of four children including a 16-year-old son. It is alleged that Modica had sexual intercourse and oral sex with four boys ages 15 and 16 last July and August and provided them with alcohol and marijuana. She allegedly hosted pool parties last summer for the teens at her Sloatsburg home.
An attorney who represents her husband says that he and his children were not present at the residence when the parties were allegedly held. The couple’s four children are currently living with their father who became Spring Valley’s police chief last July. Modica, who is also a former PTA president at Sloatsburg Elementary School, is reportedly living with her mother.
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Keep it up folks, send emails to all legislature, senators, governors, etc. People ARE starting to wise up.. Listen to the audio at the site as well.
Council wonders, why have a law not proven to work?
Members of the Kenosha (Wis.) City Council deserve credit for their careful consideration of a proposed sex offender residency requirement. Unlike most governing bodies that have voted on similar measures, the council didn't rubber stamp it.
Last week, Kenosha council members voted 11-6 to table the measure because -- and here's the key -- there is no evidence that a residency requirement does anything to protect children. It's so sensible, it should hardly merit commendation. Except that the state of Iowa and many communities herein, as well as East Dubuque, Ill., have enacted such laws -- against the advice of law enforcement officials.
But the Kenosha council got it right. There is no evidence that keeping convicted predators from residing within a certain distance of a school or day-care center makes them less likely to reoffend. Unless there is a link, said Alderman Ron Fredrick, the law is utterly useless -- or worse, because the citizens actually believe the law is somehow protecting them.
When it comes to sex offender residency requirements, Fredrick has two descriptive words: specious and "bromide."
"A bromide is a sedative. It makes you feel good, but it doesn't treat the underlying symptoms. Specious means it sounds good, but in reality, it's just the opposite. I consider this ordinance a specious bromide," Fredrick said.
The issue isn't dead in Kenosha. It will likely come before the council again, and Fredrick will keep trying to fend it off. As further incentive, he might observe the situation Iowa finds itself in these days. Legislators rushed to enact the residency requirement. Now, despite strong testimony from sheriff's officials, police, county attorneys and victim advocates, lawmakers lack the courage to undo their flawed legislation. It's an election year, after all. And no one wants to get painted as soft on sex offenders. A similar measure in the Wisconsin State Assembly failed passage because those lawmakers, like the Kenosha Council, have questioned the law's effectiveness. Instead, the state is looking at child safety zones, which would bar predators from places where kids congregate; that makes more sense.
Iowa politicians could take a lesson from their Wisconsin neighbors. Lawmakers should summon the courage to consider not a dismantling of our sex offender laws, but a restructuring with safety zones. The only people who get some measure of security from having the current law on the books are lawmakers. But protecting politicians from election-year attack ads isn't reason enough to keep the residency requirement.
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Watch "Age of Consent" on 20/20 this Friday.
Watching presidential candidates promise to "fix" America fills me with dread.
A reason I have this reaction is that I've been doing reports for "20/20" on previous politicians' campaigns to "fix" child sex abuse.
Sexual abuse was always a problem, but in the early 1990s, something changed. Several pretty white girls were victimized at a time when the 24-hour cable-news cycle was hungry for new drama. Heinous child molestation became the big story. So publicity-seeking politicians clamored for new laws.
One result of their campaign was Megan's Law, which requires police to notify neighbors when a sex offender lives nearby. States were also ordered to establish registries so that when sex offenders are released from prison or put on probation, everyone can keep track of them.
It does seem important to know when a dangerous person lives nearby, but these laws have freedom-killing effects that go well beyond their proponents' good intentions.
For last week's "20/20," I interviewed sex offender Frank Rodriquez. Because he admits he repeatedly had sex with a child, he will forever be listed on the Texas sex-offender registry. His name and picture are posted next to those of murderers of children and a man who molested 200 kids.
But Frank's "crime" was different. He had sex with his high-school girlfriend. She says it was her idea.
Nikki was a 15-year-old freshman when Frank was a senior. Nikki's mom knew that Nikki and Frank were intimate and even took her to Planned Parenthood for birth-control pills. But her mother didn't like the relationship, and one night, she and Nikki got into a fight. Her mom went to the police and filed charges against Frank because the age of consent in Texas is 17.
The next morning, she decided to drop the charges, but the police said it was too late. They charged Frank with sexual assault of a child.
Frank's court-appointed defense attorney told him he had two bad choices: plead guilty and accept seven years' probation or go to trial and possibly spend 20 years in prison.
- This is their MO. Scare the hell out of someone, so they take the plea-deal, which is NEVER a deal. Then they can get it over with and move on to the next victim.
So he took the plea bargain. It kept him out of prison, but it gave him a different kind of life sentence: life as a registered sex offender.
- He would've got this either way!
Frank had to move out of his family home because his 12-year-old sister lived there. He lived by himself in a trailer. He needed permission from a judge just to go to his brother's high school football games.
And above all he was told, "Stay away from your girlfriend."
"They told me if I were to see her, run. Run the opposite way. I wasn't able to see her, they told me, until she was 17."
The very day Nikki turned 17, she moved in with Frank. They lived together, and a few years later, they got married. That was almost nine years ago. Today they have four little girls.
Marrying Nikki, however, didn't change Frank's legal situation. While he was on probation, he couldn't take the kids to parks and playgrounds because other children were there. He was told he'd have to get special permission to pick up his own kids from day care.
For the rest of his life, he'll be on the sex registry.
He isn't in jail, but registering as a sex offender every year and worrying that people will think he's a pedophile or a rapist is a kind of prison. When Frank and Nikki are an elderly couple, he will still be listed as a man who victimized a 15-year-old child.
The Centers for Disease Control says 25 percent of 15-years-olds admit to having had intercourse. Almost 40 percent of 16-year-olds say they've had sex. So in most states, under today's tough laws, millions of kids are guilty of sex crimes. Most, of course, are never prosecuted.
But if you are a member of the "wrong" ethnic group, or a cop doesn't like you, or the father of the girl doesn't like you (more on that next week), your life can be ruined.
Laws always have unintended consequences. Beware candidates who promise to cure society's ills.
ABOUT THE WRITER
John Stossel is co-anchor of ABC News' "20/20" and the author of "Myth, Lies, and Downright Stupidity," which is now out in paperback.
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A former Nacogdoches County deputy was sentenced Wednesday to a little more than eight years in federal prison for child pornography violations in U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield's courtroom in Beaumont, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Michael Paul Kennedy, 32, pleaded guilty to transporting or shipping child pornography, receipt of child pornography and possession of child pornography on Oct. 3, 2007 as part of a plea agreement.
According to his attorney, John Heath Jr., the eight-year sentence was at the bottom of the range of punishment that U.S. probation officers suggested for incarceration.
"He (Kennedy) stood up and took responsibility for his actions and apologized to his friends, family and his community," Heath said. "It's an unfortunate and tragic thing, and he has recognized that there are absolutely victims even if all you are doing is viewing a picture.
In June 2006, Kennedy was traced through credit card purchases he made to access a Web site called neova.net, which served as a portal to illegal pornography.
Acting on information received from a federal investigation into online child pornography sites, law enforcement officers searched Kennedy's home computer, and more than 1,000 images of child pornography were found on the hard drive. Some of the images depicted boys younger than 18 engaging in sexual intercourse. He admitted to purchasing porn, but denied purchasing the illegal child porn.
After more than eight years of service and becoming the youngest lieutenant in the Nacogdoches Sheriff's Department history, Kennedy resigned on Nov. 17, 2006, after the allegations were made public.
"Every time an image of child pornography is viewed, the sexual victimization of a child is repeated," Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said in the press release. "This defendant, a former law enforcement officer, betrayed the public's trust by preying on children. The Cyber Crimes Unit will continue to track down and arrest child sex predators."
Heath said Kennedy has been in federal custody for approximately seven months, so he will get credit for serving that time.
"He's very, very remorseful about it," Heath said. "That's how he's been through this whole ordeal."
Michael Rodden's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The tables were turned on a former Cincinnati police officer as he was handcuffed inside a Hamilton County courtroom and taken to jail on Wednesday.
William Simpson confessed to doing the unthinkable by violating the public trust and sexually assaulting a woman while on duty.
Simpson stood before Common Pleas Judge Ethna Cooper.
Prosecutors said Simpson raped a woman who called police for help after allegedly being beaten by her boyfriend in the Fall of 2006.
According to prosecutors, Simpson forced the woman to have sex after taking a report.
Simpson accepted a plea deal on lesser charges of sexual battery. As part of the plea deal, Simpson was forced to resign from the Cincinnati Police Department.
Simpson was sentenced to six months at the Hamilton County Justice Center.
Judge Cooper told Simpson he will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
Simpson was also told he can not work in law enforcement again. Simpson retired from the Cincinnati Police Department.
Cooper also told Simpson his act has tarnished the good deeds of other public servants.
"I think I speak for everybody here, not only did you violate that victims trust, you violated everyone's trust in the city with the use of your office in that way," Cooper said.
The executive director of "Women Helping Women," Ann MacDonald said the fact that a police officer committed the act makes the crime even more stressful for the victim.
"It's really traumatic when it happens with somebody that you trust, like a police officer, like a firefighter, like an educator, like a minister," MacDonald said.
MacDonald said one way to begin the healing process is for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to get professional counseling.
"Women Helping Women" said if you or someone you know, male or female needs help, call their 24 hour crisis line at (513) 381-5610.
NY - Life Inside the Emperors Club - The Other Men Caught With Spitzer Sweat It Out as Governor Resigns
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With Eliot Spitzer's career and reputation sizzling on the grill, at least nine other rich -- and likely powerful -- men have already begun to sweat.
The federal complaint that describes the sexual and financial history of Client 9, otherwise known as Spitzer, also gives tantalizing details about the nine other men caught in the same net.
Spitzer, who may have spent as much as $80,000 on the call girls according to some accounts, announced his resignation today.
Judging by the complaint, each of the clients were wealthy, traveled a great deal, liked to meet the women while on the road and were willing to pay a lot of money for time with a beautiful woman.
While the complaint does not identify the men or their professions, it has to be giving a great deal of heartburn as the prostitution case makes its way through the legal process and the media pry out details.
The court papers provide an inside view of the exclusive world of the Emperors Club, its customers and its employees.
One man asked that a woman be flown from Los Angeles to Chicago for an evening, while another requested one of the high-priced prostitutes to be flown from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
One apparently lusty client had the Emperors pimps scrambling Feb. 2 because he was looking for "three girls, possibly four, for four hours each."
Those guys were cheapskates, however, compared with Client 7, who was quoted a price of $25,000 to have a woman join him in Vienna.
Client 7 "has enough credit that they can take their time this evening and tomorrow morning," wrote one of the Emperors Club's pimps, who was caught by the feds text messaging another club manager. "She ... doesn't necessarily have to race out @ 9 a.m."
Aveline, who made the Vienna rendezvous, was one of more than 50 women whom the club allegedly had available to its high rollers in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Paris and London.
Hooking was often a sideline for the women and they sometimes asked for shorter assignments because they were answering casting calls the next day.
One griped that she wasn't being paid enough. "This is the kind of money I make very easily in photo shoots," she complained in an e-mail to the club's managers.
The men who hired the women were generally wowed. Client 4 told the agency he was delighted with his last two dates. "Two A+s in a row ... I don't know where you get these young ladies."
he club also took steps to calm nervous customers about being caught.
When Client 4 fretted about getting the bill for the night "past my accountant and auditor as a business expense," the club assured him that the bill is paid to QAT Consulting, which he claimed was a genuine business.
And there were the ring's marketing innovations, including a $2,000 introductory offer for a first-time customer, a buyout clause that allowed a man to deal directly with the prostitute and skip the Emperors Club or long-term rates of $35,000 for two full days and $50,000 for three days.
Life inside the Emperors Club wasn't without strife, however. The managers apparently had to deal with problems from the clients as well as the women. Like the client who harrumphed that his date was "more sex than sexy."
According to the complaint, the women could also be difficult. One was let go because she was suspected of using drugs. Another got in trouble for cutting out of an appointment after only 40 minutes because she had to pick up her children from school.
Rookies were a problem. The Emperors Club bosses were heard in a phone call complaining that a new employee named Felana was "clueless. ... We don't even know if we can charge $1,200 [let alone] $5,000."
The club even warned Felana's customer that he would be her first customer and "what your expectations are might not be fulfilled." The customer was undaunted. "Sounds great to me," he answered.
Recruiting was apparently a constant challenge. One prospect turned the club down by e-mail after consulting with a girlfriend who was working for it.
"I was a little bit shock and confuse that she had a sex with him twice in an hour and without him taking her out to dinner before, so I am very sorry I don't think this is my kind of thing," she wrote in a message cited in the complaint.
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UNION GROVE — The village is set to be one of the first municipalities in the area to restrict the whereabouts of sexual offenders. But whether the legislation will hold up remains to be seen.
The Village Board Monday gave preliminary approval to an ordinance that limits the residency of convicted sex offenders to 1,000 feet from any school, recreational trail, playground, park or day care center. The ordinance also limits loitering within 200 feet of such entities.
The Village Board is to take up a final reading and vote on the proposal on March 24, Village Clerk/Treasurer Janice Winget said.
Village trustees Monday said the restrictions do leave areas in the village for offenders to live, thus avoiding a potential legal challenge.
"We’re not saying don’t live here. We’re saying stay away from schools, day cares and playgrounds," Trustee Kim Christman said.
- But it's a proven fact that 90% or more of sexual assaults do not occur at these places, but with someone known to the victim. So these are nothing but banishment, plain and simple.
Christman admitted that enforcement might be difficult, but called the pending ordinance "a step in the right direction."
"It’s a tool to use in prevention, but it’s not going to stop them completely," she said.
- So it's a prevention tool that is not going to do anything, that is basically what you are saying.
Trustee Tim Mallach said the Village Board’s Police Committee gathered input from the Racine County Sheriff’s Department, citizens and the state Department of Corrections in coming up with the ordinance. Village Attorney Julie Gay also offered guidance in drafting the ordinance.
"It wasn’t something we put together in a short time," Mallach said.
Several other area communities, including Racine, Caledonia, Sturtevant, Somers and Kenosha have also discussed the idea. In January 2007, neighboring Franklin was the first municipality in Milwaukee County, and the second in the state, to restrict where sex offenders can live. The Franklin ordinance restricts certain sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of schools, day care centers and other places where children might congregate.
- So did any of you ever speak to an EXPERT in the field of sex offenders? I bet you didn't!
The Kenosha City Council took up a proposed ordinance on March 3, but alderman tabled the measure after a number of witnesses testified against it and no one spoke up in favor of it.
The flurry of activity among municipalities to consider limitations has some in the state Legislature thinking about banning such measures out of fears that it would only force offenders to rural areas.
"It also pits communities against each other," state Rep. Donald Friske (Contact), R-Merrill, said. "The safety and security of each community is equal. I don’t know if we can start to say this community’s more important because of this or the children of that community are entitled to less protection because they live there."
Mallach said talk of prohibitions at the state level doesn’t cause him pause.
"It should be up to the local leaders to make a decision on this, not the state," Mallach said.
Trustee Gordon Svendsen agrees with Mallach and said the village needs to send a message that it is taking charge of the issue.
- Yep, anything for brownie points to "look good" to the sheeple!
Christman said the ordinance will apply to all those convicted of sex offenses, even cases where say an 18-year-old is charged for a relationship with a teenage minor boyfriend or girlfriend.
"Until the state clarifies that, we have to lump everyone together," Christman said.
- Why in the hell do you lump them all together? Are all white people evil murderers because some white man killed a bunch of people? No, so why are you lumping all sex offenders in together?
She also noted that the ordinance will need to be amended from time to time as annexations are made to the village and new parks and trails are developed and new day cares open.
- Thus complicating the issue, and making it impossible to know what is required or not.
"It will be a living document. It will not be static," Christman said.
- God help us...
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More proof of what I've been saying, from an EXPERT, is correct!
by Amanda C. Gregg - THE GARDEN ISLAND
Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles to appear over the next week that will look at the occurrence of sexual assault on Kaua‘i.
For an estimated 90 percent of Kaua‘i’s sexual assault victims last year, the aggressor was not only an acquaintance, but a trusted friend or family member.
For child victims, that percentage was even higher, according to statistics provided by the Kaua‘i YWCA.
Though that might take some of the island’s residents by surprise, it’s a common misperception nationwide that sexual predators are strangers to their victims, Beverly Eager, lead therapist for sex offenders at the Kaua‘i YWCA, said.
Eager has worked on Maui for 10 years and Kaua‘i for 20 years with sex offenders and sex addicts.
The majority of them aren’t lurking somewhere in the dark, but are trusted individuals who have developed some kind of relationship with their victims, she said.
“More than 90 percent of the time, that’s the case,” she said. “It’s not just some guy, going to the mall to pick up some girl to take home.”
More often than not, it’s a trusted friend who picks up a child from school or is visiting the house, she added — the kind of predator that isn’t filtered through a sex offender registration screen.
“There really are very few, true pedophiles on-island — guys who are exclusively attracted to children,” she said. “It’s less than 10 percent.”
Often those sexual assaults committed against children stem from some kind of perceived emotional connection by the offender, she said.
“Most are not attracted to children,” she said. “It’s more like, the hurricane hits, they’re unemployed and home with a teenager. They’re drinking more, then confide in a daughter and begin to have inappropriate thoughts.”
That’s where it gets even more complicated, as victims who know their aggressor are less likely to report it than those who don’t, Renae Hamilton, executive director for the YWCA, said.
Adding to the challenge is the fact that children are less likely to report sexual assault immediately afterward, making it more difficult to prosecute as evidence disappears.
“We know from long-term studies that kids do not disclose right away,” Hamilton said. “Adults don’t even disclose right away. It’s easier if you’re sexually assaulted by a stranger to disclose it.”
Hamilton says the YWCA uses a three-prong approach to addressing the problem of sexual assaults: working with victims, working with offenders, and prevention.
One of the preventative measures is educating the public about how it is accusatory toward sexual assault victims.
“Many times (society) questions the victims: ‘Why didn’t they say something in the beginning?’” she said. “If there wasn’t physical injury, if it was consensual, or if the victim was drinking, then it makes it even harder. Would you ask the same questions of a robbery victim? No, you wouldn’t.”
Hamilton added that parents and family members of victims should take a moment to consider whether they’re fostering dialog or placing blame on victims, a demographic that is primarily made up of women and children.
Altering that perception could help put more predators behind bars, she added.
“The community reaction in terms of who is to blame — ‘Was that person drinking?,’ for example — that just doesn’t help encourage people in wanting to report at all,” she said.
Assistant Police Chief Roy Asher said residents should keep in mind that sexual assaults are most often crimes of opportunity.
“No one should be assaulted, no matter how trusting they are,” he said. “But unfortunately it’s when victims inadvertently make themselves vulnerable, these kinds of crimes happen.”
Of last year’s 47 reported first-degree sexual assaults, one was reported to have been committed against a pre-adolescent, according to the Kaua‘i Police Department.
A 53-year-old Hanama‘ulu man was arrested March 5 for first-degree sexual assault that reportedly occurred in September.
Police released the man and the case has been handed over to the Prosecutor’s Office.
Whether prosecutors will pursue the case was unconfirmed at press time.
• If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, call the crisis hotline, available 24 hours: (808) 245-4144
• Amanda C. Gregg, assistant editor/staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or email@example.com.
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LINCOLN (AP) - A Lancaster County District judge has decided to send a former guard back, but this time inside the bars.
On Tuesday, Lancaster County District Judge Karen Flowers gave 30-year-old James Pischel a sentence of 1 to two years in prison for using a computer to entice a girl into sex. "She" turned out to be Lincoln police detective Ed Sexton, who was pretending to be a 15-year-old girl during a chat room sex talk last year.
Lincoln police had arrested Pischel on June 3rd near a park where he had gone to meet the girl for sex.
When arrested, Pischel was a corrections corporal at the Lincoln Correctional Center.
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Chief: Residency rule should be civil matter
WEYMOUTH - You can pass an ordinance that limits how close to school sex offenders are allowed to live, but don’t expect the police department to enforce it.
That’s the message Police Chief James Thomas sent to the town council in response to a proposed ordinance that would ban sex offenders from moving into homes less than 1,500 feet from schools and playgrounds in Weymouth.
“I do not believe it’s a police issue,” Thomas told a town council committee Monday. “I believe it’s a civil issue that needs to be enforced civilly. I strongly suggest with this ordinance that the police are not involved in the enforcement part of this. The police have already done their job. They’ve brought this (sex offender) before the courts, and he’s been adjudicated.”
Thomas suggested that violations of the proposed ordinance be enforced the same way as zoning violations.
If passed, the ordinance would only apply to Level 3 sex offenders, the ones deemed most likely to reoffend by the state, and would not apply to offenders who already live in Weymouth but only to those moving into town.
Town Councilor Patrick O’Connor, one of two councilors pushing the ordinance, said it will be up to Mayor Sue Kay (Email) to decide who would enforce it. The proposal calls for a civil fine of $150 for a first violation and a $300 fine for each subsequent day a sex offender remains in violation.
“You certainly have to have enforcement,” said Kay, who called the proposed ordinance “a good move.”
Town Councilor Brian McDonald said it could make sense for the Norfolk County sheriff’s department to serve the violation notices, as it does for evictions. O’Connor said he likes the idea and might include the suggestion in a final draft of the ordinance, which is still being fine-tuned but is substantially complete.
The ordinance has been approved by Weymouth’s town counsel as lawful. It is modeled after similar laws in communities including Marlboro, where police enforce it. Scituate town meeting will consider its own version of a sex-offender residency restriction on March 29.
Thomas said the proposed ordinance “sends a strong message,” but he questioned whether situating sex offenders in certain parts of town would prevent them from reoffending.
He also questioned how violators could appeal fines and how their proximity to a school would be measured.
“I want to make it plain and clear to everybody: I am not an advocate for sexual predators,” Thomas said. “But with my years of experience on the police department, you come to understand that people have certain rights.”
O’Connor said he is confident that the ordinance will not illegally banish sex offenders from Weymouth. He said he plans to present maps to the council to prove it.
“I believe that’s imperative for them to see,” O’Connor said. “It will be tough for (sex offenders) to live in the town. But we can’t, unfortunately, make it impossible.”
Jack Encarnacao may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
View the article here
Several videos are available at the site.
“We don’t want you to walk around scared — we want you to walk around smart.” That was the message Patty Wetterling brought to the area ninth graders gathered at WestRidge Mall Tuesday for the 20th annual Otter Tail County Youth Health Conference.
The event included freshmen from seven area schools, students who spent the day attending sessions on everything from domestic violence to chemical health.
Wetterling, whose son Jacob was abducted from a St. Joseph cornfield in 1989, was Tuesday’s keynote speaker.
Now director of sexual violence prevention for the Minnesota Department of Health, Wetterling said the start of high school marks a unique time in a teenager’s life.
“Before Jacob was kidnapped, I taught junior high and I love this age group,” she said. “I think you’re at the age of beginnings, possibilities.”
But it’s also an age of transitions, she said, when students start to date, drive and more. It is at this age — when many teenagers are both vulnerable and overconfident — that they may believe in promises from potential abusers.
“Most kids are not taken like Jacob was kidnapped,” said Wetterling, whose son has still not been found. “Most kids are tricked or lured.”
And this increasingly happens on the Internet. Detective Mike Detloff of the Moorhead Police Department was on-hand Tuesday to discuss how teens can stay safe online. The topic, he said, is becoming more and more relevant to greater Minnesota.
“Predators are moving outstate because city (law enforcement) are getting really good at catching them,” he said, explaining that rural law enforcement are not as advanced in tracking down people who target teens online.
Some people may be familiar with “To Catch A Predator,” Detloff said, the Dateline NBC program that uses hidden cameras to catch pedophiles meeting up with pre-teen girls they met online.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that if we did that in Fargo/Moorhead or Fergus Falls we’d have just as (many) people coming,” Detloff said.
Parents can monitor their teens’ Internet use by asking them about Web sites and keeping computers outside of bedrooms, he said.
Good communication in general, it seems, is key. Know who your teenager’s friends are, Wetterling said, what your teenager’s interests are and where he or she hangs out.
“Keeping that communication open sounds really simple but that’s what keeps kids safe,” Wetterling said.
FL - Mark Lunsford's Lawyer Sends Second Letter Demanding Retraction to Cox Radio and Bubba the Love Sponge
As shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem continues to hammer Mark Lunsford advancing allegations he is trying to personally profit from his 9-year-old daughter's rape and murder, Lunsford's Jacksonville-based attorney has sent two letters to Cox Radio and Clem demanding an end to the attacks and retractions.
The second letter, sent Friday, pretty neatly outlines Lunsford's case against the Citrus County sheriff's office, as well as his rebuttals to Clems on air attacks. So, after getting a copy from a Jacksonville-based public relations agency, I've decided to put the letter up here in its entirety.
Read for yourself, and examine the case Lunsford's attorneys make for their client's actions.
You have already been provided with cease and desist demands as well as demands for retractions on behalf of Mark Lunsford and his mother, Ruth Lunsford, to cease and desist your continuing malicious, slanderous and libelous attacks on these fine people. For whatever reason, you have chosen to either ignore those instructions or, in the alternative, now claim that your conduct is merely “opinion,” and/or a mere recitation of the opinions of your listeners. Both claims are without merit, and are mere excuses to continue your unlawful and intentionally abusive conduct.
The facts show that you absolutely did no investigation whatsoever into the bases of Mr. Lunsford’s claim before labeling Mr. Lunsford and his attorneys as a “fraud,” perpetuated by “ambulance chasers.” Even worse, once the facts were made known to the public, you intentionally refused to acknowledge them. Some of the pertinent facts are these:
- The Florida Department of Law Enforcement (“FDLE”) instructed the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office to locate and arrest certain known sex offenders, including John Couey. That occurred months before Mr. Couey abducted, imprisoned, raped and then murdered 9 year old Jessica Lunsford;
- While the FDLE confirms the foregoing, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office claims to never have received those instructions from FDLE;
- Evidence shows that before Jessica’s abduction, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office knew that there was a warrant for the arrest of John Couey;
- Evidence shows that before Jessica’s abduction, the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office knew that John Couey had been staying at his sister’s residence located almost directly in front of the residence from which Jessica was abducted. Therefore, had the Sheriff’s Office complied with the instructions of FDLE, or, alternatively, had the Sheriff’s Office appropriately acted upon the notice that it had regarding John Couey (irrespective of the directions from FDLE), Couey would not have been able to abduct, imprison, rape and murder Jessica;
- We know that the day Jessica was abducted (while she was alive as specified below), the Sheriff’s Office requested that Mark and his father accompany the Sheriff’s deputies to the Sheriff’s Office, after the deputies promised Mr. Lunsford that a “thorough, door-to-door search” would be conducted by the Sheriff’s Office. The evidence shows that Mark Lunsford relied on the promises of the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office to conduct a “thorough door-to- door search,” and voluntarily went to the Sheriff’s Office with his father;
- We know that while at the Sheriff’s Office, the deputies lied to Mark Lunsford by telling him that Jessica’s blood had been found on the underwear of Mark’s father, Archie Lunsford. After that lie was told, the deputies then sent Mark to confront his father, accusing his father of murdering Jessica. The point of all of this is that this is evidence to show that the Sheriff had already determined in his mind that Jessica was dead, and that Archie Lunsford was the murderer (the Sheriff was obviously wrong about that too). Therefore, the Sheriff was not conducting a legitimate “thorough door-to-door search” to find Jessica alive;
- We have been approached by multiple volunteers who were specifically trained to search for missing people with specially trained canines who were told to “stand down” by the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office the day that Jessica was abducted;
- We know from the Sheriff’s records that on days one and two (when Jessica was still alive as specified below), deputies went to the Couey residence not once, not twice, but at least three times. During those visits, the deputies specifically found extremely suspicious conduct at that residence, which is precisely why they kept returning. Despite that suspicious conduct, the deputies failed to ask to search the inside of the residence;
- Even more, these deputies did ask to search only the “perimeter” of the residence, precisely where Jessica would be found 3 weeks later, and she was not found by the “perimeter searches.” The reason she was not found by these perimeter searches, was because she was not yet dead;
- You have repeatedly echoed the Sheriff’s claim that our allegation that Jessica was alive for a period of days after her abduction is based solely on the statements of John Couey. While Mr. Couey’s admissions certainly support all of the forensic evidence offered by law enforcement at the murder trial, your claim that our allegations are based totally on statements by John Couey is completely inaccurate, untrue, and has always been inaccurate and untrue. We base our conclusion that Jessica was alive for days in part on the Sheriff’s records as specified above, as well as the testimony of the Medical Examiner, who confirmed that Jessica had no food in her stomach or intestines at the time of her death, showing that she had not eaten for probably at least 24 hours, and as much as a few days before she was murdered;
You could not have known these facts when you began intentionally labeling Mr. Lunsford, his family and his attorneys as “fraud” and worse, because they were not known to anyone but Mr. Lunsford and his attorneys at that time. However, both Mr. Gelman and myself, as attorneys for Mr. Lunsford, immediately contacted multiple producers of the radio show and notified them of the fact that Mr. Clem was misinforming the public, and offered to provide relevant facts to Mr. Clem and the radio network, if they were interested in the facts. No return phone calls were ever made. This certainly shows a complete and willful disregard of the truth.
The malice of both Mr. Clem and Cox Radio as well as the radio stations airing his broadcasts is also proven by the deliberate misinformation about Mr. Lunsford and his actions on the night that Jessica was abducted. Mr. Clem, by and through Cox Radio and the participating radio stations, have represented to the public that while Jessica was being abducted, Mr. Lunsford was off “drinking in some biker bar,” or allegations to that effect.
The truth is that at the time of Jessica’s abduction, Mark Lunsford was working 60 to 80 hours per week to support his family. While Mr. Lunsford was working late, Jessica went to church, attended a group there, and came home. She had eaten dinner with Mr. Lunsford’s parents. After coming home from church, Jessica found Mr. Lunsford watching television on the family couch. It should be noted that Mr. Lunsford and Jessica lived at the residence with Mr. Lunsford’s parents, who were retired. Mark worked overtime, and helped pay bills incurred by his parents, Jessica and himself.
Mr. Lunsford watched television with Jessica and after she had a bowl of cereal, he ultimately put her to bed. After doing so, he told his parents that he was going to his girlfriend’s house. No one has even suggested that Mr. Lunsford’s parents were either inappropriate or unfit to care for Jessica. He left the Lunsford residence, went directly to his girlfriend’s house and stayed there until approximately 5:30 a.m., when he got up and returned to the Lunsford residence to get ready for work. It was then that he discovered that Jessica was missing. All of this has been confirmed by law enforcement! Your complete and utter reckless disregard for the truth has misled the public into believing that Mr. Lunsford abandoned his daughter for a night of drinking in some bar, when that is simply untrue, and has always been untrue. There is absolutely no evidence to support Mr. Clem’s slanderous mis-characterization of the truth.
In that regard, what evidence did Mr. Clem and/or any of the broadcasters of his show have contradicting these facts as I have specified them above? What investigation did Mr. Clem and/or any of the broadcasters of his show do before suggesting to the public that Mr. Lunsford abandoned his daughter for a night of drinking and partying? What witness have any of you spoken to who has represented to any of you that the facts of Mr. Lunsford’s conduct of the night his daughter was abducted was anything other than what I have specified in this correspondence? What documentary evidence exists anywhere on earth that contradicts the facts that I have specified regarding Mr. Lunsford’s conduct on the night Jessica was abducted?
Demand is hereby made for any and all information regarding each and every measure that was taken by Mr. Clem and/or the broadcasters of his show to determine the facts which will form the basis of Mr. Lunsford’s claim against the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office before Mr. Clem began (and throughout) his intentional and malicious attacks on Mr. Lunsford, his family, his attorneys, and the Jessica Marie Lunsford Foundation.
While I do not represent the Jessica Marie Lunsford Foundation, on behalf of Mr. Lunsford and his family, I would also request that you immediately provide us with any and all investigation that Mr. Clem and/or his broadcasters performed before claiming that Mr. Lunsford has made fraudulent use of the Foundation. I believe that neither Mr. Clem nor his broadcasters had any credible information nor did any of them conduct any investigation whatsoever before you collectively began claiming that Mr. Lunsford had improperly used the Foundation. Again, while I do not represent the Foundation, I do believe that this information will be entirely relevant to show the malicious and outrageous conduct of Mr. Clem and his broadcasters regarding Mr. Lunsford, his family and his attorneys.
Since that time, the radio network and Mr. Clem have began to label his slander as “opinion.” Under the facts, this is clearly a subterfuge and an excuse to continue the malicious attacks on Mr. Lunsford, his family and his attorneys. It should be noted that Mr. Lunsford’s mother who has been referred to as a “white trash whore” is 75 years old, a 50 year member of the masonic lodge and has never been anything but an upstanding private citizen. She is certainly not a public figure, and Mr. Clem nor his broadcasters have any right nor basis to slander her so.
Another subterfuge now employed by Mr. Clem and Cox Radio is to claim to simply read comments of radio listeners over the air, which are not the opinions of Cox and/or Mr. Clem. However, this claim ignores the obvious fact that the opinions of Mr. Clem’s listeners have been determined, shaped and formed by Mr. Clem and his broadcasters’ intentional and malicious slandering of Mr. Lunsford, his attorneys and his family. Neither Mr. Clem nor Cox Radio can now hide behind the public opinion that Mr. Clem and Cox Radio intentionally and maliciously created.
It is inconceivable that Mr. Clem and/or Cox radio would label Mr. Lunsford’s intended suit as “fraudulent,” “baseless,” “without merit” or the like, if they had bothered to even ask or perform any investigation whatsoever into the basis of the intended suit.
Please immediately remove the slanderous emails created as a result of the intentional and malicious conduct as specified above from the internet and immediately discontinue slandering and libeling Mr. Lunsford, his family and his attorneys.
You are also instructed to retract all of the foregoing misstatements of fact at the same time, frequency, degree of intensity, and duration in which the statements were initially made to the public through your broadcasts. You are also instructed to remove the offending clips from the internet site. You are also instructed to copy this correspondence with the facts to each and every member of the public who has sent you emails criticizing Mr. Lunsford, as those emails are obviously products of your unlawful, intentional and malicious conduct.
Mr. Clem, Cox Radio and its broadcasters should be ashamed. Mark Lunsford has suffered the worst tragedy that any parent can imagine - the loss of a child. Despite your representations to the public to the contrary, in no way was Mr. Lunsford negligent in caring for his child. Rather than sink to (what would be understandable) alcoholism, drug addiction or other psychosis from this tragedy, he has instead made his life’s work into protecting children from sex offenders in this country. He has actually been personally responsible for changing sex offender laws in 34 states. He currently continues his attempts to change the law, despite your slanderous and libelous conduct.
Your conduct has obviously deeply affected Mr. Lunsford on a personal level, but it has also already detrimentally affected his ability to lobby for changes in the law, all as a direct result as your unlawful conduct to now hide behind the 1st Amendment is inappropriate and unfair, as well as unlawful.
As you may know, Senator Michael Bennett has now authored a bill holding Mr. Lunsford up to additional public scorn and humiliation. Upon information and belief, that Bill is the product, at least in part, of your outrageous conduct.
GOVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY.
Eric S. Block
View the article here
Sex offenders will be limited to living one per structure under law.
LONG BEACH - Sex offenders will have to live far from many Long Beach locations after the City Council unanimously passed a strict new residency law Tuesday.
The council had asked the city attorney's office to create the new ordinance in response to concerns raised by Alamitos Beach residents last month about a 12-unit apartment building in their neighborhood that was housing 15 registered sex offenders on parole.
Councilwoman Suja Lowenthal, who represents the district where the building is located, said the law will prevent state parole officers from "clustering" sex offenders in a single building for their convenience and may encourage policy changes at the state level.
"Long Beach is taking a stand on behalf of our communities," she said. "Long Beach will not be placated by simple shifts in sex-offender registries from one property to another. We want real reform and permanent results."
Under the new law, all but one of the sex-offender residents of the building that sparked the concerns, 1149 E. First St., would have to move out within six months after it goes into effect. It means no more than one sex offender can live in a single structure (e.g. apartment or duplex building, or single-family dwelling) unless the sex offenders are related by blood, marriage or adoption.
Furthermore, no property owner or manager may knowingly rent any unit within a multi-family building to more than one sex offender, and no more than one sex offender can stay in a single room at a hotel, motel or inn.
The ordinance also creates "residential exclusion zones" in a 2,000-foot radius around child-care centers, parks and schools where sex offenders aren't allowed to live.
In addition to limiting where sex offenders can live, the law also prohibits them from loitering in "child safety zones," which are within 300 feet of areas where children congregate. Beaches and other recreational areas such as parks are off-limits to sex offenders as well under the ordinance.
The Long Beach ordinance builds on existing state laws that prevent convicted sex offenders released from prison since November 2006 from living closer than 2,000 feet from K-12 schools or parks. Registered sex offenders on parole also aren't allowed to live together in a single-family dwelling unless they are legally related by blood, marriage or adoption.
However, state laws don't take into account proximity to day-care centers or multiple sex offenders living in different apartments in the same building.
It was this last situation in a 12-unit apartment building at 1149 E. First St. that raised the fears of some Alamitos Beach residents and property owners. The state's Megan's Law Web site, which identifies registered sex offenders with their address and other information, earlier this year listed 15 sex offenders living in the apartments. The building is close to both the beach and two child-care centers.
A spokesman for the state Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections since has said that some of the sex offenders will be moved out of the apartment building to other locations because of the public outcry. On Tuesday, 10 sex offenders were still listed as residents of the building on the Megan's Law Web site.
Marge Landress, the owner of a nearby apartment building, said Tuesday that the new ordinance will benefit not only the neighborhood, but the sex offenders themselves, who will be more easily rehabilitated without other offenders nearby.
"There's just way too many for one area," Landress said. "If you can scatter them around, I think they will feel better. I know we would."
She said her only disagreement with the ordinance is that anyone who already is in violation of the ordinance when it goes into effect will have six months to comply with the new rules. Landress said that is more time than is needed.
Nancy Ahlswede, CEO of the Apartment Association, California Southern Cities, which represents 3,000 property owners, told the council her organization supports the law.
"It is imperative that landlords protect persons at risk in the buildings that they own," Ahlswede said. "It is critical that multifamily units impact neighborhoods in a positive way, not negative."
The law is expected to return to the council next week for final approval before it goes into effect.
I monitor YouTube quite often to find videos relating to SO laws and issues, and have noticed daily many people create new accounts and post XXX rated videos on there. But my question is... Why does society see a woman posting nude videos all over the internet, where anybody, even a child can see them, and it's ok, but when a man does it, that are arrested and labeled a sex offender?
You think we might have a double standard here??? And no, I do not seek these out, although viewing adult porn is not against the law, but people post them every single night, just watch and you will see. Why doesn't YouTube keep the videos offline until a YouTube employee can view them and either accept or deny them? I'm sure many people out in Cyberspace would do it, for a small fee of course.
This is just two examples, but look around for yourself, you might be shocked what you see. If you don't believe me, go to YouTube and enter "SEX" and see what you find, or other search terms.
Also, why do women feel like they need to do this? Are they all strippers or something? I would not doubt it...
View the article here
This week, a lifelong Port Salerno resident and convicted sex offender has a second chance to argue that he shouldn't be incarcerated indefinitely.
Opening arguments could begin today in 46-year-old William Kendall's second Jimmy Ryce trial.
Kendall completed his 10-year sentence for attempted sexual battery in 1999, but has since been held under the Jimmy Ryce Act, which allows for the civil commitment of those convicted of sexually violent offenses even after they have completed their sentences.
At Kendall's first Jimmy Ryce trial in August 2006, the jury split over whether Kendall is a sexually violent predator who needs to remain incarcerated for treatment, so this week's trial had to be scheduled.
A jury for Kendall's criminal trial in 1989 found him guilty of sexually abusing a co-worker at a restaurant. The victim, a 28-year-old mentally disabled woman, reported that Kendall, a dishwasher, had hugged her and pinned her against a wall in a back room of the restaurant and touched her inappropriately.
View the article here
In Albuquerque, N.M., officials are banning sex offenders from using the city's libraries. It’s a law that’s getting mixed reactions from residents in El Paso.
"I think it would be a great idea, because they get access to a computer,” said Northeast El Paso resident Andre Luther. “I wouldn't want them messing with my kids or anybody's kids."
Albuquerque city officials said one of the reasons behind the plan is to stop registered sex offenders from using library computers to track down potential victims. Library officials will cross check library card holders information against the registered sex offender database.
"I don't think it would work completely because what if they don't want to check out books," said Lower Valley resident Misa Castellanos.
Castellanos noted that there really isn’t another way to determine if a person is a sex offender by just walking through the door.
"People don't even know if a sex offender is in there right now. I don't think nothing's happening in there," Castellanos said.
Others said the law infringes on people’s constitutional rights.
"We may not like them, but they are still citizens,” said West El Paso resident Bill McIntosh. “It's unconstitutional."
The American Civil Liberties Union is reviewing the ban, which has been in effect since March 3.
Albuquerque is sending notices to registered sex offenders to notify them that are not allowed to use the library. Sex offenders caught in city libraries may be arrested for trespassing.
In El Paso, KFOX reported on people viewing pornography on library computers. El Paso library officials recently installed a system that will allow parents to filter what their children view online.
- Why don't you just install a filtering software package so NOBODY can view porn of ANY kind? It's very simple and cheap. This is just more BS laws to further punish offenders who have just as much right to be in a library as anybody else. Hire a security guard to watch everybody, install filtering software. Come on!
At this time officials are not considering banning sex offenders from El Paso libraries.
View the article here
Check out all the other perverted, corrupt officials here.
A former Wicomico County Sheriff's Deputy accused of child sex abuse with two 10-year old-girls pleaded guilty Tuesday. Charles McMichael will now spend over a decade behind bars.
Wicomico County Assistant State's Attorney Jayme Dykes says children should be able to trust Law Enforcement Officers. She says Charles McMichael violated the trust of two young girls.
She says, "The defendant, as a police officer, should have upheld the law and protected children not molested them."
McMichael was accused of sexually abusing the two 10-year-old girls while they were in his care. Tuesday, the former Wicomico County Sheriff's deputy pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 35 years behind bars, with all but 13 years suspended.
Jayme Dykes says he got what he deserved. She says, "This is a victory, Judge Simpson did absolutely the right thing."
McMichael was facing 13 charges between the two victims. They were scheduled to go on trial separately, but Dykes says she wanted to avoid that.
She says, "In some instances, testifying in court can be just as traumatic for victims of the actual abuse."
During his appearance, McMichael did address the court. He said he was sorry to both victims and to their families. He also apologized to the court and to members of Law Enforcement.
Wicomico County Sheriff Mike Lewis says McMichael has been fired from the Department.
When McMichael is released from prison, the former Deputy will have to spend five years on probation and register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
View the article here
DETROIT — Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick lashed out at his opponents and the news media tonight, accusing them of showing a “lynch mob mentality” in the aftermath of the scandal over his exchange of sexually explicit text messages with a former top aide.
It happened as he finished reading the written text released before his State of the City address, which had only a brief allusion to the text-message controversy.
The case has led to a criminal probe of whether Kilpatrick lied under oath when he denied the affair with former Chief of Staff Christine Beatty, revealed in numerous text messages.
Kilpatrick, who is black, said he and his family have been subjected to racial slurs, as well as threats.
“In the past three days, I’ve received more death threats than I have in my entire administration,” he said. “I’ve heard these words before, but I’ve never heard them said about my wife and children,” he continued, his voice rising as he wagged his fingers and gestured with his arms.
“I don’t believe that a Nielsen rating is worth the life of my children or your children. This unethical, illegal, lynch mob mentality has to stop.”
The angry tone was a sharp contrast to his earlier remarks in what was Kilpatrick’s seventh State of the City address today to what he called a “transformed Detroit.”
During the 65-minute address delivered to about 1,500 people, he promoted an economic stimulus package, promised improved public safety and the creation of new jobs.
“In the daily press of events, in the midst of foreclosures, joblessness, Iraq and Afghanistan, presidential politics, hatred and racism, and even the Kwame Kilpatrick roller coaster ride, sometimes we may not see our own time for what it truly is,” Kilpatrick said in prepared remarks. “Tonight, we are at the dawn of a new, transformed Detroit.”
Five members of the nine-member Detroit City Council didn’t take their customary seats behind him on the stage.
“I represent the people and I knew this was the right place to be,” said Councilwoman Alberta Tinsley-Talabi, one of the four on the stage.
The City Council is expected to consider a resolution next week calling for the mayor to resign, but Kilpatrick called for city leaders to work together.
“President Cockrel, we have much more serious issues affecting our city than whether we attend a speech,” Kilpatrick said, addressing Council President Ken Cockrel Jr.
Cockrel was one of three council members who chose to sit in the audience. He has been critical of Kilpatrick’s role in the text-messaging scandal and a Kilpatrick-approved confidential agreement settling an $8.4 million whistle-blowers’ lawsuit brought by three former police officers.
Cockrel would complete the remainder of Kilpatrick’s second term in office if the mayor is forced to leave office. He was unsure why Kilpatrick chose to publicly single him out for criticism today.
“My door is always open. He has my number,” Cockrel said following the address. “It was inappropriate, but I have bigger fish to fry. I think we all do.”
He and Councilwoman Sheila Cockrel stopped short of saying Kilpatrick played the race card at the end of his address.
“The mayor is under a lot of stress and it’s telling,” Sheila Cockrel said. “Anyone can certainly appreciate what the impact has been on him and his family.”
But the situation Kilpatrick finds himself in is due to choices he made, she added.
“I’m not surprised the mayor has a hard time taking responsibility for his actions,” Sheila Cockrel said.
New mayoral Chief of Staff Kandia Milton said Kilpatrick’s speech was simply about working with the City Council on issues impacting the city.
“It’s about action for the mayor,” Milton said. “What you heard was passion, and the mayor has a passion for moving the city forward.”
Kilpatrick said future mayors “will remember this as a time when we thought not only about us, but about the future — a time that we put aside divisions and found a new hour of healing and hopefulness in which we joined together to transform the city that we all love.”
Kilpatrick and Beatty denied under oath during a whistle-blowers’ trial last summer that they had a romantic relationship. The text messages from 2002 and 2003, released by the Detroit Free Press in January, contradict those statements, leading to a scandal that has embroiled the mayor’s office and forced Beatty to step down.
The lawsuit, which eventually cost taxpayers $8.4 million, was filed by two former Detroit police officers who said they were fired or forced to resign for investigating claims that Kilpatrick used his security unit to cover up extramarital affairs.
Before the speech began, about 60 members of Detroit municipal unions picketed outside, urging his resignation or ouster.
They carried signs with messages that included, “fire the mayor,” “layoff Kilpatrick now” and “Kwame must go.” The protesters cited the text message scandal, as well as public worker layoffs.
The bulk of Kilpatrick’s 15-page address focused on the future of the city, not his personal problems. Among the proposals he introduced is a plan for a public works/economic stimulus package.
The city hopes to sell between $300 million and $330 million in bonds to pay for improvements to police, fire, recreation and other city departments, and continued demolition of vacant structures. Plans are to go to the bond market in May if it’s approved by the City Council and bond rating agencies.
About $29 million a year from Detroit’s casino wagering tax revenues would be used to pay off the bonds. The wagering taxes this year are estimated at $197 million, Kilpatrick said.
“By taking a small portion of this relatively new tax and investing it in our future we will shore up our infrastructure and have a tremendous impact throughout this city,” he said. “The deferred maintenance of our police stations, fire stations, rec centers, crumbling streets and other crumbling facilities can no longer be addressed in a piecemeal way. Let’s get together. Let’s get it done.”
The bonds would be issued by the city’s Economic Development Corp., Deputy Mayor Anthony Adams said today.
“We’re hopeful and optimistic the City Council will go for it,” Adams told The Associated Press. “It brings work to the city. We’ll be hiring contractors and architects dedicated and committed to making sure Detroiters are employed.”
Kilpatrick’s plan calls for building a new police district headquarters on the city’s east side and construction of two new fire stations.
Police Chief Ella Bully-Cummings also has been directed to start a recruiting plan to hire more than 300 officers this year. Kilpatrick also wants the process to enter the Police Academy to be shortened from as long as a year to 13 weeks.
Kilpatrick addressed Detroit’s improved bond rating, cost-saving efforts that include a reduced city payroll and changes in health care benefits to employees, and continued development of downtown and the city’s riverfront.
“Tonight, no one is talking about insolvency. Tonight, no one is talking about bankruptcy. Tonight, no one is talking about receivership,” he said. “So we have come a long way in six short years. But, like all urban areas, we still have our challenges. Our job is to face up to those challenges with vision and courage.”
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is expected later this week to decide if she will pursue perjury charges against Kilpatrick and Beatty.
“The challenge for all of us in public office is to rise above our differences — to rise above our human frailties — and maintain our focus on working together to move this city forward,” he said. “At this moment in our history, we must start turn to each other, and not on each other.”
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ST. PAUL - Attorneys for U.S. Senator Larry Craig are asking the Minnesota Court of Appeals to correct a "manifest injustice" by allowing the Idaho Republican to withdraw his guilty plea stemming from an airport restroom sex sting.
In court papers filed Tuesday, the lawyers asked the appellate judges to reverse the trial court's decision to let stand Craig's guilty plea to a disorderly conduct charge. They also asked the court to vacate his plea.
Craig was arrested in June in a restroom stall at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport during a broad sweep targeting men soliciting sex. An undercover officer said Craig tapped his feet and swiped his hand under a stall divider in a way that signaled he wanted sex.
After news of his arrest and plea became public in August, Craig denied wrongdoing. He insisted his actions were misconstrued and said he wasn't gay. He said he pleaded guilty and paid a fine hoping to resolve the matter quietly.
He later tried to withdraw his guilty plea, but a Hennepin County judge refused.
Tuesday's filing repeats many arguments that Craig's attorneys made before, including claims that the lower court abused its discretion and that the guilty plea is invalid because there is no factual basis for a disorderly conduct charge.
Craig's behavior as he looked into a stall was "consistent with the conduct of an innocent person waiting for one of the occupied stalls to clear," the attorneys wrote. They also noted that the state's disorderly conduct statute refers to "others" — and that Craig's actions did not affect multiple victims.
Prosecutors have said in court documents that the judge did not abuse his discretion. They also have argued that Craig's attorneys are misinterpreting the state disorderly conduct statute, and that the arresting officer may be the only person present.
Defense attorneys argued that even though Craig may have pleaded guilty to avoid publicity and face a more serious charge, that doesn't change the fact that the plea is inaccurate.
The Court of Appeals had not yet set a time for oral arguments. Once heard, a ruling is required within 90 days.
Craig has said he will finish his term, which ends in January 2009.