Wednesday, March 19, 2008

NH - Sex rage: Beating not enough

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03/15/2008

WEARE – The father who beat up his daughter's boyfriend after learning the two had had sex appeared on ABC's "20/20" last night and spoke publicly about the incident for the first time.

"So I hit him," said Gilberto Soto, the girl's father. "Do I regret what I did? No. Would I do it differently? Yes, I would, I would.

"Now? Take that kid, stick him in the car, tie a rope around his neck and go as fast as I could up and down the highways, every single highway there is," Soto said, then clarified that he meant drag the boy at the end of a rope behind his car.

Last night's show was called the "Age of Consent." Soto, 38, is from Weare. Last fall his 15 1/2-year-old daughter had sex with her then-17-year-old boyfriend, Damon Hadley. Hadley is 18 now.

When school officials caught the two cutting school, the girl alleged Hadley had raped her, according to authorities. Although she later admitted to police she lied, Hadley was charged with sexual assault because he admitted the two had had sex, and under state law, a person cannot consent to sex until the age of 16.

Soto was charged with assault.

Both eventually pleaded guilty to misdemeanor simple assault; Soto was sentenced to 12 months in jail and Hadley to three months. Both sentences were suspended on condition of good behavior.

Soto told "20/20" he's upset Hadley didn't go to jail.

"He should've done at least a year," he said.

Asked if maybe his daughter lied about being raped because she was scared of her father, Soto replied, "My kids don't have reason to be scared of me."
- Well you just threatened to drag the kid behind your car, so yeah, they do have something to be afraid of..

Hadley's lawyer said he hopes Soto will be charged with criminal threatening.

"It is my fervent hope that Soto be charged, convicted and incarcerated for these types of hateful and alarming comments that have no place in our society," said Concord attorney George "Skip" Campbell.

He said Soto's comment brings to mind the 1998 killing of James Byrd in Texas. Three men beat up Byrd, stripped him of his clothing, tied a chain around his waist and dragged him for three miles.

Lisa Hadley, Damon's mother, said she's worried for her son.

"I was worried for him that day in the nurse's office after he got beat up . . . ,'' Lisa Hadley said. "And then to hear him on national TV saying this. Yeah, I'm worried. He got away with what he did to my son."

Damon Hadley remembers the day Soto beat him up.

"I didn't move at all, I just froze," Damon said in an interview last month. "I didn't know what to do. Her dad hit me. I was on the ground. I just remember him standing on top of me and hitting me.

"He kept saying, 'Did you (have sex with) my daughter?'"


CO - Death penalty for rape doesn't protect children

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03/18/2008

A bill pending in the Colorado Senate that would authorize a death sentence on a second conviction of raping a child could backfire by giving some of society's most vicious criminals a perverse incentive to kill their victims.

Senate Bill 195 (PDF) by Sen. Steve Ward (Email), R-Littleton, would authorize the death penalty for people who sexually assault a child 12 years or younger if DNA evidence links them to the crime.

Ward's bill also could discourage victims from reporting abuse by relatives, fearing they'd get the death penalty.

The Senate Judiciary Committee amended the bill to allow the death penalty only for rapists previously convicted of a similar attack on a child. It then sent the bill to the Appropriations Committee, where it should receive a quiet burial.

The Post has historically opposed the death penalty. But even supporters of capital punishment have strong reasons to oppose this bill. First, it endangers the very children it is designed to protect. If the penalty for rape alone is death, then a criminal vicious enough to make such a heinous attack in the first place may reason that he faces no further penalty for killing the victim.

Granted, most rapists would not even think that far down the road, but why provide the incentive for those who might?

Whether or not the death penalty deters crime at all is a subject of endless debate. But what influence the law does have should always be aimed at shielding victims from even worse harm. Colorado law already allows a death penalty for a rapist who kills his victim. By executing for rape alone, Ward's bill strips victims of whatever protection they now receive under that law.

Ward's bill also violates one of the tenets of Judeo-Christian morality, the rule that punishment may be proportional to a crime but must not exceed it — an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

The notion that life can only be taken from those who have themselves taken life is so deeply embedded that the U.S. Supreme Court in 1977 ruled that states can only impose the death penalty for murder.

Despite that ruling, five states still have laws on the books like the one Ward wants to bring to Colorado, allowing execution for the rape of a child under age 12. But only one, Louisiana, is currently trying to execute a rapist, Patrick Kennedy, for such an offense. That case is now pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

We share Ward's outrage at the kind of sick people who would rape children — but why wait for a second such heinous offense to crack down on these criminals? Current law allows sentencing child rapists to 20 or 30 years, depending on the circumstances of the crime. If the legislature wants to get tough, why not allow a life sentence on the first offense in the worst cases and thus preclude the possibility of a second offense?

That's the best way to protect children.


MA - SJC voids decision by sex offender board

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03/15/2008

The state's highest court ruled yesterday that the state cannot force a man with an unblemished record since his 1979 rape conviction to register as a sex offender without giving him a chance to argue that he should be exempt.

The Supreme Judicial Court found that the state violated the man's right to due process by insisting he had a mandatory obligation to register as a Level 1, low-level sex offender for the rest of his life, despite evidence that he was unlikely to reoffend.

"He would be forced to say annually, and without regard for the past one-quarter century, 'I am a sex offender, and here is where to find me,' " wrote Justice Robert J. Cordy. Though the man's identity would not be made public, it would be disclosed to police, which the court found would be humiliating and intrusive.

The board ranks convicted sex offenders on a scale of 1 to 3, with three being the highest risk to re-offend. The identities of Level 2 and 3 sex offenders are made public.

The man, referred to as John Doe in yesterday's court opinion, which protects his identity, was 22 when he entered an Alford plea on the rape charge, meaning that he maintained his innocence but acknowledged the state could justify his conviction. He was sentenced to two years probation.

Boston lawyer Lawrence P. Murray, who represents the man, would not provide details of the rape case. He described his client as a hard-working father of three, who was stunned in 2003 when the Sex Offender Registry Board notified him that he had to register because of his 22-year-old conviction.

"This just tore him apart that he was going to have to do that and be labeled this way for the rest of his life," Murray said.

The board rejected the man's request for a hearing, ruling that the state's 1999 sex offender law required mandatory registration for anyone convicted of a violent sexual offense regardless of individual circumstances.

But, the court found that the board could not retroactively apply the law without giving the man a chance to challenge his registration, and it sent his case back to the board.

Murray said he is confident his client will prevail.

Harry Pierre, a spokesman for Attorney General Martha Coakley's office, said, "Obviously this is something we're going to have to study to review the implications of the ruling."

There are 2,657 Level 1 sex offenders in the state, according to Terrel Harris, a spokesman for the Executive Office of Public Safety.


FL - Bubba, Lunsford Attorney Set For Major Announcement Tomorrow

Todd "Bubba the love sponge" Clem
Todd Clem
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03/19/2008

After it was reported yesterday that Bubba "The Love Sponge" Clem is being sued by rival Tampa morning show host Todd Schnitt (aka MJ Kelli) of WFLZ, Bubba will now address another law suit with a live announcement on his show on Thursday, March 20. Tomorrow morning at 7:30 a.m. EST, Bubba will host Eric Block, the attorney for Mark Lunsford, on his program. The two are scheduled to make a major announcement on Cox Radio’s WHPT/Tampa and WFYV/Jacksonville.

Lunsford has threatened to sue Bubba and Cox Radio because of comments the radio host made about Lunsford’s announced plan to sue the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office over the handling of his late daughter's 2005 murder case. Following Lunsford’s announcement, Bubba questioned his use of donations that came to him following her death, and other issues surrounding it. Lunsford had called in to the Bubba the Love Sponge Show on February 28, when Bubba questioned him about his financial records and plans to establish a foundation in his daughter’s name.

"The taxpayers should be very interested in hearing what the two of us have to say tomorrow morning," Bubba commented. "Everyone desires an equitable resolution to this situation."


RI - Bill would keep sex offenders from voting in schools, libraries

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Do you really think I'd vote for these idiots any way? I refuse to vote because all the people in office do NOT speak for me and they are all a bunch of idiots who are out to garner votes to fatten their wallets and make themselves look better to the people. I don't vote because of all these hypocrite liers who took an oath to uphold the Constitution and who apparently lied to get into office, because they are not doing this.

03/19/2008

BOSTON (AP) - Beacon Hill lawmakers are considering a bill that would ban sex offenders from voting in schools or libraries.

Instead of voting in person when their local precinct is in a school or library, anyone enrolled in the state's Sex Offender Registry would be required to vote by absentee ballot. The bill was being discussed Wednesday by the Joint Committee Election Laws.

Rep. Demetrius Atsalis, D-Barnstable, says he is proposing the measure to guard against a sex offender wandering into an area with children during the chaos that can sometimes be found in a polling place. Voting by mail would reduce that risk.

Under Massachusetts law, every polling place must have at least one police officer on duty.


CA - New Law Prohibits Sex Offenders from Coming Within 300 Feet of Children

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03/19/2008

City Attorney Michael Aguirre will hold a community forum Wednesday on a new law that prohibits registered sex offenders in San Diego from coming within 300 feet of places frequented by children.

A panel of law enforcement, children's health and sex offender management experts will discuss the city's so-called "Child Protection Act" at 1 p.m. in the City Council Committee Room at City Hall.

Officials from the City Attorney's Office will address the legal issues surrounding the ordinance.

The measure, approved unanimously by the City Council last month, regulates sex offenders' proximity to any public or private schools, child care facility, video arcade, playground, park or amusement center.

It is meant to complement Jessica's Law, which was approved by California voters in 2006 and prohibits paroled sex offenders from residing within 2,000 feet of schools and playgrounds.

The constitutionality of Jessica's Law is now being challenged, and officials with the City Attorney's Office have said San Diego's new law could also face legal hurdles.


OH - Clyde teen guilty of rape

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03/19/2008

FREMONT -- It all came down to the judge not believing the testimony of a teenage boy, who was found guilty of rape and kidnapping Tuesday afternoon.

Colton Musser, 14, must undergo a sex offender specific evaluation before sentencing at a later date.

Sandusky County Juvenile and Probate Court Judge Brad Culbert said in his ruling, "I have found that there are many points in Colton's testimony that I don't believe."

Musser, who testified Tuesday morning about the Jan. 15 incident, denied that he penetrated the victim in anyway.

"I grabbed her thong. That's the furthest I ever got in her pants," Musser said. "I didn't touch her sexually; I didn't touch her the way she said I touched her."

Musser also said that he only heard one "stop" or "no" throughout the incident, and that came after he picked the victim up during the horseplay. His sister told a similar story in her testimony Monday.

Another 14-year-old, Bruce Goble, who previously pleaded guilty to complicity to rape and kidnapping charges, said in his testimony Monday that he heard the victim say stop several times and could tell she was uncomfortable.

"I believe Bruce told the truth through most of the story," Musser said.

Defense attorney Chris Marcinko questioned Clyde police Detective Sgt. Mark Roach's investigation of the incident.

Roach played the nearly 30-minute audiotape interrogation of Musser for the court. Musser told the events that took place on Jan. 15. Toward the end of the tape, Musser was sobbing and only nodding "in an affirmative manner," according to Roach.

The defense argued that Roach persuaded the defendants answers by telling Musser he could leave once he answered the questions.

"He wanted to hear his story," Musser said during the trial. "He probably did the same thing (to the other boys) as he did to me."

Those claims by the defense were contradicted by McPherson Middle School Principal Jon Detwiler in his testimony.

Detwiler claimed he was present during most of Roach's interviews with the students, and that Roach was not threatening in any way. He also said that the defendant's sister's account of the incident was very different from the others who were questioned.

After final arguments, Culbert handed down his ruling.

Culbert said Musser could be committed to the legal custody of the Ohio Department of Youth Services for a minimum of one year. The maximum sentence would be until he turns 21. He could also be turned over to the regional juvenile corrections facility.

In addition, he could face a fine of $1,000 to $1,500 in connection with the charges.

The victim and her family were pleased with court's decisions.

"If for some reason he wasn't found guilty, what would have happened to the next girl?" the victim's mother said.


TX - ACTION 4 EXCLUSIVE: Zavaletta, Former DA and Two Newspapers Sued in Defamation Case

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03/19/2008

Reported by Martha Benavides

Did a candidate in the Cameron County District Attorney's race use innocent victims for his own political gain?

A middle school coach and a restaurant owner believe so.

They sued former district attorney candidate Peter Zavaletta, former District Attorney Yolanda De Leon, the Valley Morning Star and The Brownsville Herald on Tuesday.

The two men's multimillion dollar lawsuit outlines more than 30 pages of misconduct and defamation against Zavaletta, De Leon and the two newspapers.

Under scrutiny are ads published in The Brownsville Herald and the Valley Morning Star by Peter Zavaletta in February and March.

The two plaintiffs allege that the ads featured confidential files from the Maggie's House and Monica's House child abuse centers and accused them of being sexual predators who walked free.

Zavaletta lost his election bid and attorney Marc Rosenthal said the ads have now backfired because his clients were cleared of wrongdoing.

Rosenthal said Zavaletta signed an affidavit implicating former District Attorney Yolanda De Leon as the source of the files. She serves on board of directors for an organization that oversees both child abuse centers.

"Peter Zavaletta needs to be brought to justice," Rosenthal said. "We are about to be Peter Zavaletta's worst nightmare.

The ads in question ran February 26, March 2, March 3 and March 4.

The lawsuit states that The Brownsville Herald and Valley Morning Star financially gained by knowingly publishing the false campaign ads making it appear as though the plaintiff's had engaged in the sexual assaults of children.

Attorney Paul Fourt told Action 4 News they alerted top executives at The Brownsville Herald.

"I think it was not only a mistake it was intentional," Fort said. "It may have been a mistake the first time, but it certainly wasn't the second time, the third time and the fourth time."

Fourt said his clients were taunted, questioned and falsely accused of being a quote sexual predator after the first day the ads ran.

The Brownsville attorney said the middle school coach is now seeking psychological counseling.

Rosenthal said at least 10 other men named in the ads are expected to join in the lawsuit.

Zavaletta, De Leon and the newspapers are expected file responses to the lawsuit.


SC - South Carolina's 1,000 ft. circle of protection for children

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03/19/2008

Protecting Children from Predators: But who will protect them from the General Assembly?

By the time you read this, our legislature in Columbia will have likely passed another witless and counterproductive piece of legislation designed to accomplish nothing more than win headlines and cheers from the gallery. And they'll be patting each other on the back and taking bows for their tough stand to protect South Carolina's children.

Yes, our General Assembly is about to pass one of those laws barring child sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, parks, playgrounds, or other places where children regularly congregate.

The legislation is getting strong bipartisan support. After all, who doesn't want to protect children from child molesters? But maybe it's not that simple.

These laws are becoming more common throughout the country. In the past decade, at least 27 states and hundreds of municipalities have jumped on the bandwagon and passed residency restrictions for sex offenders. New or expanded laws have been proposed in 20 states this year, according to USA Today.

Many of these laws are called "Jessica's Laws," in memory of 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford, a Florida girl who was murdered in 2005. Her neighbor, convicted sex offender John Couey, is on trial for her death.

These laws were sparked out of pure fear, with little thought given to the real effects of controlling where sex offenders live. Now some early studies are coming in to suggest that this approach may be wrong-headed and even counterproductive.

Obviously, drawing huge circles with 1,000-foot radii around these child-friendly venues is going to put huge sections of any modern city off limits to sex offenders. So where are they going to live?

Some registered sex offenders solve the problem by simply dropping out of the monitoring system that identifies and reports their residences. Yes, there are penalties if they get caught, but they are betting they won't. And while they are off the law-enforcement radar, they could be posing a threat to children.

Other sex offenders may be driven out of cities and into rural areas, where there are fewer mental health facilities and other resources to help them stabilize their lives. Some will become homeless. Deprived of a support network, counseling facilities, or monitoring by authorities, they fall back into old patterns of drug and alcohol abuse — and child sexual abuse.

It's also worth noting that 90 percent of abused children suffer at the hands of people they know, according to Nancy Sabin of the Jacob Wetterling Foundation, an organization which fights child exploitation. Sabin adds that the rush to restrict the residency of registered sex offenders gives a "false sense of security" to parents and the public.

This should come as no surprise to folks in South Carolina, where our lawmakers have been offering false security and empty promises for generations. The residency restriction law, now under debate, is a perfect example. It is a quick-and-easy fix to a problem that is not even defined in this state. How many children were sexually abused near their school or playground last year by a registered sex offender living in the neighborhood? Nobody has asked the question, and nobody seems to care.

Passing this vacuous law will cost the General Assembly nothing. But it will cost local law enforcement agencies quite a lot, if the experience of other states is an indication. After all, our legislators won't be responsible for monitoring the whereabouts of sex offenders, measuring the distance from their door to the nearest park or school, arresting and booking them if they come up a few feet short.

If our distinguished solons would stop posturing for a moment and look around, they might find some real and tangible measures to help the children of South Carolina. After all, according to the 2006 national Kids Count Databook, our state ranks 47th in the nation in the well being of its children. Nearly a quarter of the state's children live in poverty, and we rank fourth for low birth-weight babies in the nation as a result of a lack of insurance and prenatal care.

Some 38 percent of high school students smoke in South Carolina. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that the state spend $23.9 million a year on tobacco prevention programs for children and teens. In 2004, the state spent $1.1 million on such programs.

The state's public education system remains among the worst in the nation, due in large part to an antiquated school-funding formula that the General Assembly refuses to restructure. To meet the current state budget deficit, the first thing Gov. Mark Sanford recommended cutting was health insurance for needy children.

Sex offenders? Let's keep these politicians away from our children.


NY - Queens Councilman Pleads Guilty To Sex Abuse

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This man committed a sex crime, and he has helped pass these laws, so why doesn't he have to face these laws??? So much for equal justice!!

03/19/2008

City Councilman Dennis Gallagher pled guilty Monday to two misdemeanors for sexually assaulting a 52-year-old woman in his Middle Village district office last summer.

Gallagher pled guilty to forcible touching and sexual abuse in the third degree as part of a plea deal to keep him out of prison. He was originally charged with rape.

“This is an unfortunate incident involving a little bit of too much alcohol by both parties and my client, to his credit, has accepted responsibility," Gallagher's attorney Stephen Mahler said outside the court.

After entering his plea, the councilman read a prepared statement apologizing to the victim and accepting responsibility for his actions.

"While I was intoxicated, I intentionally and forcibly touched intimate parts of the complainant and subjected her to sexual contact without her consent."

In exchange for his guilty plea, Gallagher will not serve any jail time or have to register as a sex offender, but he will have to step down from his position effective April 18th and complete an alcohol treatment program.

He is also barred from any contact with the victim.

Gallagher's lawyer says the case should be kept in perspective.

"My client pleaded guilty to committing a misdemeanor offense and he regrets and apologizes for his conduct," said Mahler. "But let's not make this case out to be more than it is and more than it was. This was never a rape case and he was publicly charged with being a rapist, so he's unhappy about that part."

Last year, Gallagher testified before a grand jury and was indicted on rape and sex abuse charges. He and his attorney then spent months trying to get the D.A. to drop the case. In January, a judge tossed out the indictment citing prosecutorial misconduct.

But the judge left the door open for a new case to be brought against the lawmaker. In the end, the Queens District Attorney decided a plea deal was best.

On Monday, the Queens D.A. issued a statement saying, "Justice has been served, and the victim in this case has been spared the trauma and humiliation of having to publicly testify at subsequent court proceedings."

The victim, who was never identified in court, also read a statement that said: "I will never recover from the pain, anguish, and humiliation I suffered as a result of this man's vicious attack on me. He has scarred me for life."

Gallagher's attorney disputed the statement in court saying there was no rape.

"I think the complainant has her own agenda. I think that ultimately she will seek to file a civil lawsuit," said Mahler.

When asked if she had any such intentions, the victim said she didn't know.


DC - Politicians and Sex

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03/19/2008

When New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer was caught using a prostitution service, the irony was that he was a tough-on-prostitution politician. He took pride in locking up the same kind of people he is said to have done $80,000 worth of business with. He supported "tougher laws" to imprison customers like him.

In his statement to the news media, Spitzer called the scandal a "private matter." Good point. Adults' paying for sex ought to be a private matter, but when Spitzer was attorney general, he didn't consider paid sex private. He's one of many politicians who were eager to punish others for doing what he did.

What's going on here? Maybe these men want to punish others for acting on the same forbidden impulses they know they can't control themselves?

Rep. Mark Foley of Florida was a big advocate of punishing any adult who had sex with minors. "They're sick people; they need mental health counseling," he shouted.

But then ABC News caught Foley sending sexual instant messages to minors.

Politicians should cut back on their grandstanding, says Arizona public defender Chris Phillis, because while it's bad enough to call what consenting adults do "sex crimes," it's even worse to criminalize kids who do what kids have always done.

Phillis, who defends teens accused of sex crimes, says common sexual experimentation is now prosecuted. "If a 15-year-old touches a 13-year-old, touches their breasts, they are now guilty of a felony crime. And I would love to tell you that 13-year-olds aren't engaging in this conduct. I have a 13-year-old. But telling you that isn't going to change the fact."

The Centers for Disease Control reports that 25 percent of America's 15-year-olds say they've have had sex. Nearly 40 percent of 16-year-olds and almost half the 17-year-olds say they have. All are under Arizona's age of consent, which prompted Senate committee chairwoman Karen Johnson to try to change Arizona's sex-offender laws. She wanted to give kids a break.

But the political winds are not on her side. Few politicians want to spend political capital weakening sex-crime laws -- even when such laws have horrendous unintended consequences.

Arizona's Speaker of the House Jim Weiers defends Arizona's tough laws, saying that if you are a sex offender, "Arizona is becoming very quickly known as a state you don't want to stay in." But Weiers acknowledges that Arizona's sex-offender registry has 15,000 names on it.

I asked him how putting young people who engaged in noncoercive sex play on Arizona's registry protects the public. "I don't know if it does. ... You can't take each and every individual ... "

But it is individuals whose lives are wrecked by these laws. When Garrett Daley was 14, his 9-year-old adopted sister, Devon, said he molested her. Their mom called the police.

It turned out Devon had lied. It was she who initiated sex with Garrett. She later told the police, but they didn't believe her. Today, seven years later, prosecutors still won't let her change her testimony.

To avoid a jail sentence, Garrett plea-bargained to "attempted molestation of a child." What choice do these kids have? "They're told they'll go to jail for 90 years or 50 years or something, unless they accept this plea, and the plea almost always requires lifetime sex-offender registry," Sen. Johnson says.

Garrett didn't realize his plea bargain would put him in a different kind of jail. Once you're on the sex offender registry or on probation, your life is wrecked, public defender Phillis told "20/20."

"They can't go anywhere children frequent. So that's McDonald's, that's Jack in the Box ... Children have actually been told if you go to a movie and another child walks in, even if it's a rated R movie, then you're to get up and leave."

I told Weiers about the public defender's comments. "The public defenders say all laws go too far," Weirs replied.

Give me a break. State sex-offender registries could separate consensual teen sex from pedophiles who prey on 5-year-olds. Minnesota does that.

Too often, American criminal law is a blunt instrument designed to make it look as if politicians are protecting us. I think the politicians usually protect themselves, at our expense.

John Stossel is an award-winning news correspondent and author of Myths, Lies, and Downright Stupidity: Get Out the Shovel--Why Everything You Know is Wrong.


MA - SJC says low-level sex offenders have right to hearing

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03/15/2008

BOSTONLow-level sex offenders who were convicted before the state passed a mandatory registration law have the right to a hearing to show they are no longer dangerous, the state's highest court ruled Friday.

The ruling came in the case of a man who was convicted of rape in 1979. The man, who was not identified, served his sentence of two years of probation, did not commit any other crimes and lived a stable life for more than two decades.

Then, in 2003, he was told he must register as a Level One sex offender every year for the rest of his life under a 1999 law that requires anyone convicted of a violent sexual crime to register with local law enforcement authorities.

The Supreme Judicial Court found that applying the registration law retroactively to a man whose crime occurred two decades before the 1999 law was passed violated his constitutional rights.

"Here, the requirements the registration law would impose on Doe are extensive and permanent," Justice Robert Cordy wrote for the court in a unanimous decision.

"Moreover, if Doe can establish that he poses neither a risk of reoffense nor a danger to the communities the law was intended to protect, the imposition of the registration law's requirements on him would not further the law's substantial and important purposes."

The ruling only identified the man as "John Doe" and did not provide details of his crime. His lawyer, Lawrence Murray, also would not describe the circumstances of the rape, but said the man — who was 22 at the time — received no prison time, only probation, after he entered an Alford plea. Such a plea allows a defendant to assert his innocence while acknowledging that there is enough evidence for a jury to convict him.

Murray said the man was in tears when he learned that under the 1999 law, he would have to register as a sex offender. By the time he was told of the requirement, he had been married for 21 years, raised three children, had a good job and had committed no other crimes, Murray said.

"He's a hardworking man," said Murray. "Here is someone who ... had served out his probation, had not had anything to do with the law for 22 years, and yet, he was going to be subject to the regulation to register for the rest of his life."

Terrel Harris, a spokesman for the Sex Offender Registry Board, said the ruling does not mean that sex offenders who committed their crimes before 1999 will automatically be spared from the registration requirement.

"The decision now gives them the opportunity to argue they are no longer a threat to the public's safety and therefore shouldn't have to continue registering. The (Sex Offender Registry Board) still makes the final judgment."

Harris said that while it is clear the ruling applies to Level 1 sex offenders — those considered the least likely to reoffend — the board is still analyzing the decision to determine whether it could also apply to Level 2 and Level 3 offenders, those who are considered more dangerous.

Eric Tennen, a Boston lawyer who has represented sex offenders, said that although information about Level 1 offenders is not disseminated by the board or local police departments the way information about Level 2 and 3 offenders is, having to register with police is still a humiliating experience.

"What this is going to do is really allow those very low-level and no-risk offenders to be able to move on with their lives and put behind them these incidents that they overcame long ago," he said.


PA - Former guard paroled in jail sex scandal

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03/18/2008

STROUDSBURG — Convicted of institutional sexual assault with a Monroe County Correctional Facility inmate, a former corrections officer was paroled Monday after serving the minimum sentence.

Sentenced in December to three to 23 months in county jail, Mark Gutshall, 39, of Blakeslee, served the three-month minimum and was granted a petition for parole by county court Judge Margherita Worthington.

Gutshall and three other former corrections officers were charged with having sexual contact with inmates at the jail in 2006. The three other defendants are awaiting their next court appearances.

Three more former prison guards pleaded guilty or no contest to charges of giving contraband (cell phones) to inmates and were sentenced to probation.

An eighth defendant, former jail kitchen cook Misty Mate, 30, of Albrightsville, pleaded guilty to providing illegal contraband to prisoners and was sentenced to probation.

Charges against the eight defendants resulted from an investigation after an inmate reported the misconduct to authorities.


WI - Seventeen-year-old accused of assault, fathering child

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And yet another "Romeo & Juliet" issue being caught in these draconian laws, which Walsh and others say does not occur. Well, here is proof.. One you difference in age, and his life is basically over before it even started...

03/18/2008

SHEBOYGAN - A 17-year-old Sheboygan boy is facing criminal charges after allegedly fathering a child with his 16-year-old girlfriend.

Kou Yang is charged in Sheboygan County with repeated sexual assault of a child. The charge carries a maximum 25 years in prison.

A criminal complaint says the girl told police she and Yang started having sex shortly after they met in August 2005, when both were 14.

The girl gave birth to a girl in December.

Authorities say Yang has acknowledged having sex with the girl.