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She might like this list also.
MARYSVILLE - News stories about police officers being charged with crimes have grabbed Mayor Deb Troutman's attention.
"It seems like there are stories about this happening all of the time --nationally, around the state and locally," she said.
Troutman has started the Web site Pennsylvania Double Penalty, a downloadable online petition, pushing for increased jail time for law enforcement officials convicted of a crime.
"I am 100 percent for law enforcement personnel," Troutman said. "I am also 100 percent against those who think they are above the law."
In March, a state trooper in Dauphin County, with 14 years on the job, was accused of tipping off pimps and prostitutes about an investigation into sex trafficking at the Gables truck stop in West Hanover Twp.
A Newville policeman who patrolled Big Spring High School was suspended without pay less than a week after state police charged him with theft over a $5.60 cab fare.
A former police officer in Lebanon County who often performed as a children's clown was sentenced for molesting two 4-year-old girls and pleaded guilty to assaulting a 14-year-old North Londonderry Twp. girl.
It's an issue Troutman has dealt with as well.
In 2007, she suspended former Marysville police officer Robert Pavlovich Jr. after state police began investigating him for allegedly molesting girls while on duty.
In March, Pavlovich entered not-guilty pleas in Perry County Court to charges he molested or propositioned 14 females, ages 12 to 19. A trial is scheduled for October.
Troutman said her crusade has nothing to do with that case. Instead, she said she is convinced that the people who have the responsibility of maintaining public safety should be held to a higher standard.
"They should know better," Troutman said. "We expect so much from them. I don't think it's wrong to expect they don't break the law."
Troutman said she is unaware of any advocacy or lobbying group that supports her efforts.
"Right now, I'm kind of doing this on my own," she said.
Troutman is hoping have the petitions collected by April 29. She plans to submit them to the Legislature.
Petitions can be mailed to 411 Cassel St., Marysville, PA 17053.
"I can't be the only person who feels this way," Troutman said.
JOE ELIAS: 255-8115 or firstname.lastname@example.org
ON THE WEB
Pennsylvania Double Penalty site: www.freewebs.com/padoublepenalty
Thursday, April 3, 2008
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Take note folks, what this lady did was a criminal act, and is specifically against the registry disclaimer, which can be seen here.
Man Says McDonald's Knew He Was Registered Sex Offender
BOSTON -- A convicted rapist fired from his job at a McDonald's after a woman told management he was a registered sex offender is suing the restaurant's owner and the woman, claiming information about him on the state's Sex Offender Registry Board was misused.
Scott Gagnon, 50, of Tewksbury, claims in his suit filed Monday in Middlesex Superior Court that Andrea Quinn of Tewksbury violated language on the board's Web site that says information on sex offenders cannot be used "to commit a crime or to engage in illegal discrimination or harassments of an offender." Doing so could result in jail time or a fine.
Gagnon was released just over a year ago after spending 27 years in prison following his guilty plea to multiple counts of rape. He is suing Quinn for alleged emotional distress and invasion of privacy, and suing McDonald's for alleged breach of contract.
He is classified as a Level 3 sex offender, considered the most likely to re-offend.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages.
"What Ms. Quinn did was completely contrary to the rules and regulations of the Sex Offender Registry Board, and in fact we assert that what she did was a crime," said Gagnon's lawyer, William Korman.
Quinn was not immediately available for comment on Tuesday, but she told the Boston Herald that she was concerned about her 13-year-old son, who visits the Tewksbury McDonald's. She said she did not mean for Gagnon to lose his job.
The owner of the McDonald's, Napoli Group LLC of Windham, N.H., did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press on Tuesday. Owner Peter Napoli told the Herald that company policy prohibits the hiring of sex offenders.
A spokesman for the Sex Offender Registry Board refused comment.
Gagnon received treatment for almost the entire time he was behind bars, Korman said.
He spent seven months after his release looking for a job and was hired by the Tewksbury McDonald's in September to work in the kitchen but not the counter, according to the suit.
"When he was hired he was completely up front with them," Korman said. "He told them about his history, he told them he was a sex offender and they hired him regardless."
There were never any complaints about his job performance and there were never any accusations of wrongdoing on the job, Korman said.
Gagnon was fired last week just days after Quinn brought his past to the attention of management.
"He's a shining example of someone doing everything he's supposed to do and still getting a raw deal at the end of the day," Korman said.
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By Lisa Jacobs
The following is the true story of the false prosecution of Pastor Ryan Wonderly and the on-going investigation into wrongful imprisonment of this innocent Oklahoma man.
Sex abuse/child abuse is most definitely a major problem in our nation. Many legitimate cases are prosecuted, however, many innocent people are prosecuted as well.
An adult accused of sexual misconduct with a child is automatically assumed guilty and must try to prove his/her innocence. In fact, accusations of sex crimes against a child commonly assume the accused is guilty until proven innocent. This becomes an up-hill battle in the court system due to the fact that a person charged with a sex crime can’t bring much if any evidence into court because of rules in place to purportedly protect the victim, when they in fact deny the accused a fair and impartial trial.
To make an accusation of sexual misconduct toward an adult a child need only point a finger. Once the lie is told by the child or obtained by a vindictive adult, it is repeated over and over, bolstered by so-called “professionals” and is eventually believed by the child.
The accused is then in an often futile battle to try and disprove the false allegations. It has been stated by the media, Dr. Phil and those of authority, such as judges, “It is better to have an innocent person in prison than a guilty one on the streets.” This statement seems logical to most of us until a loved one or friend finds himself/herself in these shoes facing an uncertain future. BE AWARE!
Don’t take the above statements wrongly. We certainly believe that a proven child molester should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. The caution is against the witch hunt that starts once an accusation is made. In Oklahoma nearly 78% of divorces involving children result in accusations being made against the father. A complaint is made and accusations of some sort of misconduct with his children or step children are filed. Very few, very few of these are found to be true, yet there are many imprisoned for years over false statements made in a bitter divorce.
The mere mention of child molestation causes an entire community to become enraged, but it would do well for the entire community to research the facts before turning on a neighbor or stranger as was done in the Wenatchee Witch Hunt in Washington State in the early 1990’s. The brief synopsis is that a children’s minister and his wife along with some Sunday school teachers were accused of ritual sexual misconduct with children. Three years later, the investigations had fallen apart amidst accusations of abuses by police and state social workers, false confessions, badgered child witnesses, and evidence based on the generally discredited “recovered memory” theory. The cases eventually came to be known as the Wenatchee Witch Hunt and put Wenatchee, Washington on the front pages of newspapers all across America. The investigation began in 1992 when a lie was told about a child’s genitals being touched. This lie spawned sensational fabrications by law enforcement and Child Protection Services (the same as DHS in Oklahoma), which lead to coerced statements and false accusations. Accusations haunt the innocent Pastor and wife, now victims of false prosecution, to this day.
Our Constitution states in the Sixth Amendment: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.
In Oklahoma County, the child who makes the accusation is immediately scheduled for counseling with the Care Center where “trained” counselors push for a confession by the child as to the “circumstances” of the alleged abuse. There is much pointing and directing by the counselor to an outline of a person until the “confession” is made by the child and immediately the interview is over. The interview is monitored by the prosecution and police detectives through a two-way mirror and a hearing device which is worn by the “counselor.” The “counselor” is told what to ask and repeats suggestive questions over and over until a “confession” is made by the child.
Funding for the Care Center is somewhat ambiguous. Sources tell the Oklahoma US Observer that a portion of the funds come from a state grant through the so called “Multidisciplinary Account” and the remainder of funding through private donations and gifts. The Multidisciplinary Account is funded through the filing of law suits. A portion of the filing fee for a law suit is diverted to this account. The Care Center has the appearance of being a warm and friendly place but if you want to drop in for a visit you may have a difficult time in doing so.
The response to requesting a visit from the person who answers the phone at the Care Center is less than friendly. It is a secretive place. The address isn’t given unless you have a child going for “counseling”; usually a referral from a police department, various district attorneys, Children’s Hospital or DHS. It is easy to understand that they want to protect the children, but because the Care Center is funded by the State of Oklahoma and is a public place, why the secrecy?
One answer could be in a comment made by a well known attorney in Oklahoma County. Let’s say his name is Bill. The case of a falsely accused person was being related to Bill. Bill listened intently and was surprised that charges would have been filed in this particular case. But when the story got around to the accusers being “counseled” by the Care Center Bill said, “If all of the accusers have been to the Care Center, I don’t need to hear any more.”
CARE CENTER IS INVOLVED
The accused hires the best defense attorney he/she can afford, feeling confident a time will come at trial where innocence will be proven. The attorney gladly takes the accused’s money and makes promising statements on his/her behalf. Naively, the accused continues to believe in the “justice” system, the attorney and the hope of a fair trial. The trial date for which the accused has pushed finally arrives. The accused thinks it is finally his/her chance to tell the truth, to have his side of the story told and heard. Finally a chance to prove innocence once and for all.
The lies in the courtroom against the accused are unbelievable. Everything has been twisted. Even the most innocent of incidents has been twisted in favor of the prosecution. The prosecution is out to win. It’s nothing less than a game where only one side gets to play; a game where the accused’s life is at stake, a game without rules for the accused and all sorts of rules in favor of the accuser and the prosecution. The accused is starting to realize the high-powered defense attorney isn’t saying much and if he does the prosecution objects and the motions are sustained by the judge. The same judge who two days previously stated in the courtroom she has read the police report and the charges and she believes the accused is guilty. This type of judicial misconduct from Judge Twyla Mason Gray is widely known and feared by every defense attorney in Oklahoma County. A fair and impartial judge? A trial before a jury of your peers?
Three days into the trial the tide may be turning in the accuser’s direction. The first witness has been called by the prosecution and once again the story is different than has been told before. By now the story has changed five times. With each re-telling the well coached accusation becomes worse. But this time, while on the stand, the accuser can’t keep the story straight so the prosecutor helps in creating the story with leading questions. A small seed of hope is sprouting. Maybe justice will be served! After returning from lunch, the judge calls counsel into her chambers. Counsel returns to the courtroom. The high-powered attorney looks ashen and calls the accused and the family into the hall outside the courtroom. It’s at this point the accused is told he has a choice to make . . . take a plea or face up to 600 years in prison. The group moves into the courthouse law library and a friend of the high-powered defense attorney is called in to help counsel the family. All of the professionals are in agreement that a plea is the way to go. An Alford Plea, as explained by the attorneys, “isn’t a plea of guilt but will get a lesser sentence.” Once again . . . an untruth has been told. The court looks at the Alford Plea as a guilty plea.
OR SOMEONE YOU LOVE!
There is no accounting for justice in this case. Ask yourself, “What would I do?” “I know I’m innocent!” The judge has allowed the prosecution free reign of the court room. The lies that have been told about you, unanswered and unquestioned because your attorney either won’t speak or can’t speak… False charges stacked and the evidence used against you are falsified by former D.A. Wes Lane and prosecutors Patricia High and James Siderias… Your entire life threatened by the corrupt judge, Twyla Gray, and the promise from her of life imprisonment. Never an opportunity to have your side told, your witnesses heard, no evidence from medical examinations. All the tests and profiles that you passed were for naught. Nothing that can be found by science or medicine that says you could have done this. This nightmare is all because the prosecutor is allowed to use hear-say as evidence. Yet you’re told you should throw yourself at the mercy of the court. Take the plea and hope for the best. “There is no way Twyla will give you life.” Just take the plea.
What would you do? Odds are you too would take the plea. How many of us would want to chance life in prison for something we didn’t do? How many of us would ever believe this could happen. This is not how the justice system works according to eighth grade civics class. This isn’t how it works on television and it certainly isn’t how our Founding Fathers envisioned our justice system. Perhaps it is true what Attorney John Coyle says, “This is the injustice system at work.” What would you do? Life in prison? A chance at life in the future? What would you do?
Any innocent person who is falsely accused should always maintain his/her innocence regardless of the consequences or the number of stacked charges the court throws at them. Being naïve of how the “system works and trusting legal counsel, causes those who have never had run-ins with the law to get “railroaded”. They are taken advantage of in the courtroom because they are unaware of how the system really works and their attorney sure won’t tell them! This is how defense attorneys make a living.
The above is a true story. . . The story of Pastor Ryan Wonderly, former Elementary Children’s Pastor at Bethany First Church of the Nazarene in Bethany Oklahoma. This same scenario plays out across our country daily. We must become aware of what is happening around us and to us or our justice system will become even more corrupt. Everyone has the Constitutional right to a fair trial by a jury of peers with a fair and impartial judge presiding. This means both sides must be heard without the judge forcing a plea.
A noted physician states “it could not have happened.” The accusations and charges against the children’s pastor are rape by instrumentation. Each accuser was asked if there was any pain or did it hurt? Each accuser answered “no”. This question was asked multiple times and the answer was always the same, “NO”. At the young ages these girls were when the acts were allegedly committed; the Doctor says the girls would have experienced immense pain. The physical damage would have been immediately noticed by the parents. The accusers would have been in uncomfortable pain for days and would have experienced bleeding. A psychologist says if these acts had occurred the accusers would not have wanted to associate with Mr. Wonderly yet they continued to want to be around him for nearly four more years and spoke positively about him to friends and family. Had Ryan Wonderly not been forced by a corrupt judge to take a plea these noted Doctors would have testified under oath to the above statements.
An interview transcript is also quite revealing as to the suppression of evidence in favor of Ryan Wonderly’s innocence. That transcript states one of the accusers told a long time friend that “Ryan never touched me”. The prosecution badgered the long time friend on two separate occasions for hours in an attempt to change her testimony. The truth could not be changed. “Ryan never touched me.” If you’ll remember the stories of the young accusers are different at every telling. If the truth is the truth the story won’t change. Ryan Wonderly’s story has never changed. He continues to anguish over the lies told about him.
Editor’s Note: Our investigations into the false accusations and false imprisonment of Ryan Wonderly are extensive. Mr. Wonderly was denied due process of the law and in this Editor’s opinion, and the opinion of legal and medical council, Ryan Wonderly has experienced the Oklahoma version of the Wenatchee Witch Hunt.
Mr. Wonderly maintains his innocence and waits in prison for those who lied about him to come forward with the truth.
For a full accounting of all of the articles pertaining to Ryan Wonderly visit the following articles:
Ryan Wonderly’s False Prosecution?
Entering a Plea Doesn't Always Mean Guilty -
Oklahoma’s due process mayhem
Injustice in OKC -
The Continued Imprisonment of Ryan Wonderly
The Perfect Oklahoma Coercion;
Innocent Elementary Children’s Pastor in Prison?
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The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit today challenging a new provision of the state sex offender law that will require those who register to agree to searches of their computers.
Passed earlier this year by the Indiana General Assembly, Senate Bill 258, which takes effect July 1, addresses several issues related to sex offenders. One is that when a sex offender begins probation, parole or enrolls in the state's sex offender registry, they must sign a consent form agreeing to searches of computers or Internet-enabled devices at any time. Also, they must agree to install software that monitors Internet usage at their own expense.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, says placing the restriction on sex offenders who aren't in probation or still on parole violates the U.S. Constitution's protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. Sex offenders generally must register for 10 years after their release from prison, though some must register for life.
"It seems to be, in our estimation, a pretty clear violation of the fourth amendment when you're not on parole or probation," said Ken Falk, the ACLU of Indiana's legal director.
The ACLU is not challenging the requirement to consent to computer searches as a condition of parole or probation. The lawsuit names the prosecutors and sheriffs of every Indiana county and the Indianapolis mayor, since they are responsible for maintaining the registry and prosecuting violations.
It filed the suit on behalf of a Marion County man using the name "John Doe" and a Scott County man, Steven Morris, 41, who has convictions for child molesting and sexual misconduct with a minor. Both are required to register for life as sex offenders and have concerns about the privacy of financial and business information on their computers, the suit says.
Call Star reporter Jon Murray at (317) 444-2752.
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An on-duty Orange County sheriff's deputy who was found dead Wednesday afternoon had been criminally charged earlier in the day with molesting a 12-year-old boy he met through a mentoring program, authorities said today.
Gerald Stenger, 41, was found at 2 p.m. in the driver's seat of an unmarked patrol car with a single gunshot wound to the head in an Aliso Viejo parking structure, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office.
Stenger was charged Wednesday morning with molesting a 12-year-old boy from 1995 to 1997. Authorities said the veteran deputy met the youth through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County. He would have faced a maximum sentence of 18 years in prison if convicted.
The county district attorney's office said it had concluded that Stenger was at risk of committing suicide if he discovered that he was going to be charged. In an attempt to keep Stenger from finding out he was about to be arrested, county prosecutors sealed documents and tried to arrange for a "safe" arrest.
District attorney investigators had planned to arrest Stenger on Wednesday afternoon.
The district attorney's office is investigating the case.
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This involved three people, two men and one women, and all three were sex offenders. See here.
TAMPA — A Tampa jury has found a man guilty of second-degree murder in a samurai sword attack on his estranged wife's boyfriend.
Prosecutors said 47-year-old Willie Tarpley Jr. fatally stabbed Lee Alexander because he was enraged his family had fallen apart.
Tarpley's attorneys argued their client simply wanted to protect his young daughters from the boyfriend, who was a registered sex offender. They say he didn't mean to kill him.
The attack took place May 12th and authorities say the samurai had a 42-inch blade.
Sentencing in the case is set for April 23rd.
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With ID fraud on the rise, the assumption is you'll lose money which can be claimed back. But Simon Bunce lost his job, and his father cut off contact, when he was arrested after an ID fraudster used his credit card details on a child porn website.
Simon Bunce used to be a keen internet shopper, delighted to escape the hordes and have goods delivered to his door. Wary of fly-by-night operators, he bought only from big name retailers with secure websites.
But then, four years ago, he was astonished to find himself embroiled in Operation Ore, the UK's largest ever police hunt against internet paedophiles. He was arrested on suspicion of possession of indecent images of children, downloading indecent images of children and incitement to distribute indecent images of children.
Hampshire Police took away his computer and data storage devices including flash drives, CDs and floppy disks, as well as examining the computer and storage devices that he used at work.
The effect was devastating. When his employers became aware of the reason he had been arrested, he was abruptly dismissed from his £120,000 a year job, and close members of his family disowned him.
"I made the mistake of telling my father, and he cut me off," Mr Bunce says. "He then told all my siblings and they also cut us off."
Suddenly deprived of his income, Mr Bunce had to consider selling the family home. But his wife, Kim, stuck by him, and supported his mission to clear his name.
Mr Bunce knew he was innocent - he had never downloaded indecent images, and so he knew that the police would not find any evidence on the computers or storage devices they had taken away.
But the police's computer technicians take several months to examine these, and Mr Bunce could not afford to wait to repair the damage done to his reputation. "I knew there'd been a fundamental mistake made and so I had to investigate it."
Identity fraud occurs when personal information is used by someone else to obtain credit, goods or other services fraudulently. Recent surveys suggest that as many as one in four Britons have been affected by it. In 2007 more than 185,000 cases of identity theft were identified by Cifas, the UK's fraud prevention service, an increase of almost 8% on 2006.
Operation Ore targeted suspected paedophiles believed to have been downloading indecent images of children, those whose credit card details had been used to buy pornography via an American portal called Landslide - the gateway site and central credit card handler for hundreds of websites.
Hundreds of successful prosecutions ensued, with extensive media coverage given to high profile suspects, including actor Chris Langham of The Thick of It.
As Landslide was based in the United States and under investigation there, Mr Bunce was able to use the US Freedom of Information Act to obtain a complete copy of all of the relevant material, including databases, access logs and credit card information, together with detailed information of the webmasters, which allowed him to find out how his credit card details had been used.
Each computer has a unique internet protocol number, or IP address, which identifies the specific computer and its geographic whereabouts whenever it is used to access the internet.
Mr Bunce discovered that the computer used to enter his credit card details was in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the date and time that his credit card details were entered onto the Landslide website was at a time when he could prove that he was using the same card in a restaurant in south London.
"I can't be in two places at once, so somehow my data had got to the man in Indonesia."
He was also able to discover that his credit card details had been obtained from a popular online shopping site, but he doesn't know how these came to be in the hands of a criminal.
The man responsible for using his credit card details hid behind the online name "Miranda" - a webmaster who hosted and produced pornographic websites and received a commission from Landslide for subscriptions to his website which were paid by credit card. "Miranda" had used Mr Bunce's credit card details - without his knowledge - to take out a subscription to one of his websites.
In September 2004, the police told Mr Bunce they would not proceed with any action against him. They had not found indecent material, and accepted that it wasn't him who had entered his credit card details on the Landslide website.
It took another six months before he got another job, earning a quarter of the salary he'd earned before his arrest.
Mr Bunce has also reconciled with his family, having explained to them how he came to be implicated and then cleared. Are bygones bygones? "I've forgiven them [my family] - there's no point in bearing a grudge."
Four years on, he is bringing a High Court action against the shopping website for allowing his personal details to be compromised. So no more internet shopping? "No, no, no. Once bitten, twice shy," says Mr Bunce, who now sells encryption services.
"I wouldn't say that I live in the cash economy now, but I'd rather go to the bank to withdraw money to buy petrol, as you hear of card details being harvested at garages. I'm paranoid about data security. I shred everything, I never use credit cards anymore.
"Being arrested and accused of what is probably one of the worst crimes known to man, losing my job, having my reputation run through the mud, it's a living nightmare."
Marc Sigsworth is the producer of BBC One's Identity Fraud: Outnumbered.
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Proposal aimed at regulating residencies is discussed
MANITOWOC — A proposed ordinance restricting where sex offenders can live could have far-reaching implications, Department of Corrections Registration Specialist Tom Smith said Wednesday at a Public Property and Safety Committee.
"(Sex offenders) are moving to another area because they are being forced to," Smith said about similar ordinances in other areas of the United States. "It's having an effect on other municipalities."
Manitowoc attorney Philip Hoff asked the five-member committee, "How would our decision affect other communities in the area?"
About 12 community members attended the 90-minute meeting. The committee took no action but discussed in detail the possibility of an ordinance that would restrict registered sex offenders from living near schools, parks or day care centers.
"I still believe we can craft an ordinance that will provide protection to children and not create substantial infringements on registered sex offenders," Alderman Christopher Able said. "My real goal with this is protection."
Alderman Paul Tittl said the proposed ordinance could create a false sense of security.
"Some people will misinterpret the ordinance and assume, because of it, that we're all safe," Tittl said.
Sheila Davidson, a vocal proponent of proposed sex offender restrictions, said she doesn't think that's so.
"Does having car insurance give you a false sense of security? Does having home insurance give you a false sense of security?" Davidson asked. "Why is this so difficult? People want this."
On Wednesday, Davidson and her daughter, Lauren, were the only two community members who spoke in favor of the proposal.
Meanwhile, committee members Rick Sieracki, Eric Sitkiewitz and Alderman Jim Brey questioned the need for the ordinance.
"I do not believe enacting a sex offender residency restriction will make our city any safer and may indeed make it less safe by providing a false sense of security," Sieracki said.
At a Feb. 27 informational meeting, District Attorney Mark Rohrer, attorney Bob Dewane and Sexual Assault Resource Center Coordinator Keeley Crowley said they don't support the proposed ordinance for various reasons.
On Wednesday, Smith told the committee members that less than 1 percent of registered sex offenders on supervision re-offend in Wisconsin.
Smith cited a 2007 study in Minnesota that showed residency restrictions would not have stopped an assault.
"Most sexual assaults occur at least a mile from the offender's home," Smith said.
- You are wrong! Most sexual assaults happen in the victims own home...
Smith also said the majority of sex assault victims know their attackers.
"Sex offenders can live in one place and go somewhere else to offend," Tittl said.
The state Assembly next year will consider a bill that will ban municipalities and counties from enacting sex offender restrictions. If approved, all prior ordinances restricting where sex offenders can live will be abolished, Smith said.
Kevin Braley: (920) 686-2105 or email@example.com.
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New Haven (AP) - Federal prosecutors say a former East Windsor police officer has pleaded guilty to using the Internet to lure an 11-year-old girl to have sex with him.
Thirty-nine-year-old Darren Dempsey, also known as Darren Seligman, pleaded guilty in New Haven federal court Thursday to one count of using an interstate facility to transmit information about a minor.
Dempsey faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced June 18. He has been jailed since his arrest in October and resigned from the police department Nov. 9.
U.S. Attorney Kevin O'Connor says the prosecution is part of the U.S. Department of Justice's Project Safe Childhood Initiative, which tries to protect children from sexual abuse and exploitation.
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A convicted sex offender says the Utah Sex Offender Registry violates his due process rights and if the Utah Supreme Court agrees with him, the state's highest court could strike down the policies governing the registry as unconstitutional.
Supreme Court justices heard arguments Wednesday in a key case that could hold sway over the fate of a registry that the public can use to access information, such as names and addresses, of thousands of convicted sex offenders over the Internet.
The case involves Steven Arthur Briggs, who was convicted of sexually abusing a 9-year-old girl in 1986 and sentenced to serve 15 years in prison. Before being released from prison in 2002, Briggs was told by prison staff that he had to fill out paperwork to register as a sex offender. Despite being told that it was the law, Briggs refused to sign the paperwork, which included telling prison officials where he would be living.
"You'll have to file charges against me, if you can find me," Briggs was quoted in court documents as telling prison officials.
Briggs was later charged with failing to register as a sex offender between 2003 and 2005. The court sentenced Briggs to two consecutive years in jail with all but 61 days credit for time served. Briggs appealed and argues that the Utah Sex Offender Registry stigmatizes all sex offenders as sexual predators, even those who have no history of repeat offenses. People on the registry are then subjected to public ridicule and humiliation, even after they have fully served their sentence and fulfilled their debt to society.
During oral arguments, Briggs' attorney, Lori Seppi, told justices the sex offender registry lumps all sex offenders in the same category and implies that they are all predators. This includes a 17-year-old male convicted of having consensual sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend as well as others with no history of repeat abuse. This information is then published on the Internet without giving the person a chance to argue before a judge that they are not a danger to the community.
Seppi said this violates the Constitution's guaranteed right to due process, adding if these people are going to be held out for public shame, they have a right to challenge it in court and prove that they are not a danger.
Justice Michael Wilkins asked if it's true that the sex offender is a predator, shouldn't he or she be on the registry?
Seppi said she was not arguing that everyone should be taken off and said some people should be on the registry as dangerous, but she argued Utah's laws do not make a distinction.
Chief Justice Christine Durham said she was troubled by this. She noted that children who send cell phone pictures of themselves nude to each other or children charged with acts of lewdness could wind up on the registry alongside adult rapists and violent sex offenders.
Durham suggested that the implication of being on the registry could be far more egregious than the original offense.
Assistant Utah Attorney general Laura Dupaix said all the state does is publish truthful information about sex offenders on the registry, including the crime of which they were convicted. The stigma doesn't come from the state but rather from what the public decides to do with the information, she said.
Dupaix said she would not trust a registered sex offender to be alone with her children, based on their past conduct. The registry gives the community the ability to use the information to make those choices.
Justice Matthew Durrant said he doubted the framers of the Constitution could have anticipated something like the sex offender registry or Internet publication.
Dupaix said the registry is not much different than word circulated about the abuse of a child among colonial townsfolk or of the public humiliation from time spent in the town stockade.
The justices will consider the arguments and issue a written opinion in the coming months.
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CANTON TOWNSHIP -- One of two teens accused of beheading and burning a man in what Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy described as a "thrill killing" has received a plea deal to testify against the other when trial starts next week.
Alexander Letkemann, 18, of Westland, can escape the possibility of life in prison without parole in exchange for testifying against Jean Pierre Orlewicz, 18, of Plymouth Township, according to court documents.
Letkemann pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder, disinterment and mutilation of a corpse for the Nov. 7, 2007, slaying of Daniel Sorensen, 26, of River Rouge.
In exchange, prosecutors recommended a sentence of 20-30 years and dismissal of first-degree and felony murder charges when Letkemann is sentenced on April 23, court papers show.
Orlewicz is scheduled to stand trial Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court, facing the tougher charge alone. The trial is expected to last up to two weeks.
Much of the case is based on Letkemann's confession to police.
He told investigators Orlewicz planned and executed the killing in his grandfather's Canton Township garage. Orlewicz lured Sorensen into a death trap, stabbed the large man, slit his throat, sawed off his head and burned his fingers with a blowtorch to obliterate fingerprints, according to Letkemann.
He claims he was there only to help clean up and dump the headless torso in an empty lot in Northville Township near Maybury State Park in exchange for forgiveness of a $100 debt. Letkemann also led police to a spot in Hines Park in Dearborn Heights where he said Orlewicz tossed the head into the Rouge River.
Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Maria Miller said she couldn't comment today on any deals, citing a gag order from Wayne County Circuit Judge Annette Jurkiewicz Berry.
Letkemann's lawyer Raymond Cassar was unavailable, according to his office.
Orlewicz lawyers have complained it will be difficult to select an impartial jury considering the nationwide coverage the crime received.
The judge issued two orders on Monday that narrowed defense options for Orlewicz's lawyers, barring their plans to introduce testimony about their client's alleged psychological disorders and evidence about the criminal past of Sorensen.
Orlewicz's lawyers indicated they may claim Orlewicz acted in self-defense.
You can reach Doug Guthrie at (734) 462-2674 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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An argument between three people sharing a Highland Township trailer reportedly led to false reports of criminal sexual conduct (CSC) involving an 8-month-old child, and the arrest of the infant's mother.
A 25-year-old Highland woman, an alleged registered sex offender who owns a trailer in the 2400 block of Bruce Street, called the Oakland County Sheriff's Department Highland Substation at 5:13 a.m. on Saturday, March 29, after her friend, a 17-year-old White Lake girl and the mother of the infant, threatening her. She said the 17-year-old had been "thrown out of her house" and was staying in the trailer's living room for a while. Another 25-year-old Highland woman also shares the trailer, paying $250 a month in rent.
After arriving, deputies separated the occupants and questioned all three about what had happened.
According to the trailer owner, she had gone to her mother's house the night before and returned home to find that the renter had brought her brother and a friend over. The owner had forbidden the renter from bringing friends over while she was gone, and the women reportedly argued when the trailer owner returned home.
After the argument, the trailer owner reportedly went to her bedroom with her boyfriend. Meanwhile, the renter, the 17-year-old girl and their friends were allegedly playing loud music in the living room.
According to the owner, she went out and asked for the music to be turned down, only to have it be turned up. After this, she returned to the living room and unplugged the radio and nearly came to blows with the 17-year-old.
The 17-year-old then allegedly threatened the trailer owner, "because (the 25-year-old owner is) a sex offender." The trailer owner then called 911.
When deputies arrived, the 17-year-old filed a report against the trailer owner, stating that the owner allegedly fondled her son. When questioned, the renter also stated that she allegedly witnessed the trailer owner touching the child in a sexual manner.
The three women were brought to the Highland Substation for additional questioning. Deputies asked the 17-year-old why she wasn't at home with her parents, and she replied that she had a pending domestic assault charge against her for allegedly attacking her 12-year-old sister, and was forbidden from returning home. She added that she couldn't stay with her child's father, since he was a witness in the domestic assault case.
The 17-year-old's mother was called. After speaking with the girl's mother, deputies found that the 17-year-old allegedly had assaulted her mother, her 18-year-old sister, and her 12-year-old sister. Her mother stated that her daughter had "burned all the bridges" she had, and had nowhere to stay.
Deputies asked the girl's mother if her daughter was a "credible witness," and the woman said she wasn't.
"(She) uses verbal manipulation and intimidation to get what she wants," the mother reportedly told deputies. "She's not credible."
The 17-year-old's story and the renter's account were found to have conflicting time lines, and the diagrams each had been asked to draw showed the trailer owner standing in opposite points of the living room during an alleged incident.
After being informed that her story was inconsistent, the 17-year-old was asked to rate her level of truthfulness, which she estimated at "80 percent."
The renter was informed that this was her chance to tell the truth, and that charges would be filed if it was determined that a false CSC report had been made. The renter then admitted that she had never seen the trailer owner fondle the child, and had gone along with the 17-year-old's story due to anger toward the trailer owner.
The 17-year-old was arrested for making a false police report, a felony which is punishable by four years in prison, and/or a $2,000 fine.
"(The 17-year-old) was given several opportunities to tell us the truth about what happened," said Sheriff's Department Detective Steven Zdravkovski of the Highland Substation. "(She) continued to change her story about what transpired between (the trailer owner) and her son."
The girl was set to be arraigned Monday, March 31, after press time.
"The important thing is that we stopped someone innocent from being sent to jail," Zdravkovski said.
The popular perception of incurable sex criminals may be quite off the mark
Sex crimes evince such strong feelings of revulsion and repugnance that it is perhaps not surprising that people misunderstand their nature. The public, whose opinions are reinforced by portrayals in the media and in popular culture, believes that sex offenders will almost always repeat their predatory acts in the future and that all treatments for perpetrators are ineffective. The truth is not so cut and dried—and gives us cause for hope in certain cases.
Before we discuss these beliefs, a few basics are in order. The two most common types of sex offenses are rape and child molestation, but others exist. In most cases, the victim, usually female, knows the perpetrator, generally male. By some estimates, one third or more of all sex offenders are under the age of 18, with some even as young as five years. Most begin to offend sexually in adolescence. Now what does the research tell us about common beliefs?
First, the notion that recidivism (repeat offending) is inevitable needs a second look. Recently sex crimes researcher Jill Levenson of Lynn University in Florida and her colleagues found that the average member of the general public believes that 75 percent of sex offenders will reoffend. This perception is consistent with media portrayals in such television programs as Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, in which sex offenders are almost always portrayed as chronic repeaters.
The evidence suggests otherwise. Sex crimes researchers R. Karl Hanson and Kelly E. Morton-Bourgon of Public Safety Canada conducted a large-scale meta-analysis (quantitative review) of recidivism rates among adult sex offenders. They found a rate of 14 percent over a period averaging five to six years. Recidivism rates increased over time, reaching 24 percent by 15 years. The figures are clearly out of alignment with the public’s more dire expectations.
Also contrary to media depictions, most offenders do not “specialize” in one type of sex crime. Most are “generalists” who engage in a variety of sex and nonsexual crimes as well. Hanson and Morton-Bourgon found that sex offenders had a total recidivism rate (for both sex crimes and nonsexual violent crimes) of approximately 36 percent over a period of five to six years. Nevertheless, perpetrators of different types of sex crimes exhibit varying rates of repeat offending. The 15-year recidivism rate is 13 percent for incest perpetrators, 24 percent for rapists, and 35 percent for child molesters of boy victims.
When providing clarifications about the lower than generally acknowledged rates of recidivism, we must be careful not to oversimplify. Recidivism research is as difficult as it is important. For instance, although average rates tell us what percentage reoffends one or more times, we also need to be aware that a subset reoffends at a frighteningly high rate. In addition, there are reasons to think that published findings underestimate the true rates. Most research necessarily omits those offenders who were not detected and arrested or whose victims did not report the crime. Further, many sex offenders plea-bargain down to a nonsexual offense.
Still, there are other reasons to believe that recidivism rates may not be that different from what researchers have found. Frequent offenders are more likely than other offenders to be caught. Many safeguards probably help to keep the recidivism rate in check. Sex offenders released on probation are closely monitored, and those who are considered to be at high risk for recidivism are required to register with authorities. These registries are distributed to law-enforcement personnel. Finally, states are legally required to publicly identify higher-risk sex offenders. The Department of Justice coordinates a Web site that enables anyone to search for the identity and location of known offenders.
Taking the research and its limitations into account, it is still likely that the public’s belief that very high recidivism rates are well documented is incorrect, although this verdict may change in the future.
If recidivism is not as common as people generally believe, how do their impressions of treatment’s failure or success hold up? Levenson and her colleagues also found that a whopping 50 percent of the public believes that treatment for sex offenders is ineffective and will not prevent them from relapsing. Yet some studies have shown that treatment can significantly reduce recidivism for both sex and nonsexual crimes. Hanson and his colleagues conducted a meta-analysis on treatment and found that 17 percent of untreated subjects reoffended, whereas 10 percent of treated subjects did so. When recidivism rates for sex and nonsexual violent crimes were combined, 51 percent of untreated and 32 percent of treated subjects reoffended.
The advantage for treatment over nontreatment does not appear to be that large; because meta-analyses group studies together, they may mask the fact that some of them found fairly large effects of treatment and others found smaller or no effects. Results of this meta-analysis also suggest that we might be making progress. More recent studies show significantly larger treatment benefits than do the older studies.
Most approaches employ a number of treatments. The majority include two components: cognitive-behavior therapy, which aims to change sexually deviant thoughts, behaviors and arousal patterns, and relapse prevention, which aims to teach sex offenders how to anticipate and cope with problems (such as feelings of anger or loneliness) that can lead to reoffending.
Although the development of treatments for sex offenders is still in its infancy, studies show that therapy can make a difference. Sex offenders are not all fated to repeat their horrible crimes, and we—through the actions of the general public, policy leaders and legislators—can encourage hope by supporting further research on such therapies.
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MONTGOMERY (AP) - The Alabama House has approved a bill that would prevent convicted sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of a college or university.
Existing law prohibits convicted sex offenders from living within 2,000 feet of high schools or elementary schools. The House voted 103-0 today to approve the bill by Representative Jamie Ison of Mobile to expand the current law to include colleges and
The bill now goes to the Senate for debate.
Ison said she hopes the bill will help protect young women attending college.
Representative Thomas Jackson of Thomasville voted for the bill.
But he expressed concern that the Legislature keeps passing laws restricting where convicted sex offenders can live or work.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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This is just insane! I hope society is happy about themselves? This is called sexual curiosity!!! Remember when you were growing up? See all the other kids having their lives ruined by these same laws, here.
Kids dealt with harshly as schools grapple to enforce zero-tolerance policies
WASHINGTON - In his seven years, Randy Castro has been an aspiring soccer player, an accomplished Lego architect and a Royal Ranger at his Pentecostal church. He also, according to his elementary school record, sexually harassed a first-grade classmate.
During recess at his Woodbridge school one day in November, when he was 6, he said, he smacked the classmate's bottom. The girl told the teacher. The teacher took Randy to the principal, who told him such behavior was inappropriate. School officials wrote an incident report calling it "Sexual Touching Against Student, Offensive," which will remain on his student record permanently.
Then, as Randy sat in the principals office, they called the police.
"I thought they were going to take me to prison," Randy said recently. "I was scared."
Prince William County school officials would not comment on Randy's case, citing student confidentiality. They said the call to police was the result of a misunderstanding.
Randy is only one of many children to be dealt with harshly as schools across the country grapple with enforcing new zero-tolerance sexual harassment policies and the fear of litigation.
The Virginia Department of Education reported that 255 elementary students were suspended last year for offensive sexual touching, or "improper physical contact against a student." In Maryland, 166 elementary school children were suspended last year for sexual harassment, including three preschoolers, 16 kindergartners and 22 first-graders, according to the State Department of Education. Statistics for the District were not available.
Label 'doesn't make sense' for little kids
In 2006, a kindergartner in Hagerstown, Md., was accused of sexual harassment after pinching a female classmate's buttocks. A 4-year-old in Texas was given an in-school suspension after a teacher's aide accused him of sexual harassment for pressing his face into her breasts when he hugged her.
Ted Feinberg, assistant director of the National Association of School Psychologists in Bethesda, said he had never come across a case of sexual harassment in elementary school in his three decades in the schools. To label somebody a sexual harasser at 6 "doesn't make sense to me," he said. "Kids can be exploratory in behavior, they can mimic what they see on TV."
Randy sat on the lower bunk in his bedroom recently and explained what happened Nov. 26 on the playground at Potomac View Elementary School. Katherine DeLeon, a classmate who regularly came over to play, was kneeling on a bench, talking to friends. He said he saw another boy race over to the girl, whack her on the bottom and run away, giggling and pretending he hadn't done it. He did it twice more, Randy said.
Randy said he thought it looked like fun, so he joined in, hitting her and running away twice. "Every time he hit her, she laughed," Randy said. "When I hit her, she told the teacher."
Katherine's mother, Margarita DeLeon, who was contacted by school officials shortly after the incident, said that her daughter didn't like being hit but that she quickly forgot about it. "We didn't pay attention to it, because we know it's just children playing around," she said. "He didn't mean anything by it. I'm upset with the school."
Claudia Castro, a preschool teacher in Alexandria, said she was shocked when officials at Randy's school called to say that he was in trouble and that they were calling the police. She later met with the principal and assistant principal. "I told them that what he did was not appropriate. And I have talked to him about it. What I don't understand is how you can make a police report on a 6-year-old. But the principal told me that they were making reports to the police every single day."
The school's incident report, provided to The Washington Post by Randy's family, says the "police were contacted" after the playground episode. Police arrived after dismissal, when Randy had already gone home. Castro said she shared the story with The Post in the hope of changing school policy.
Confusion over police reports
Days before the incident, at a routine meeting with district officials, principals had been reminded to report threats and assaults to the police. "There was some confusion as to what level of threat and assault we were talking about," said Ken Blackstone, a school system spokesman.
Some officials and students said Potomac View administrators made an announcement that a new district policy required them to inform the police of student misbehavior. But Blackstone said there was no new policy. After the meeting, he said, principals were confused about when to call police. "As a result, there were too many calls that may not have been necessary because of people wanting to comply with the initial request."
"Some of the calls," Prince William police spokeswoman Ericka Hernandez said, "were about incidents the police did not have to be involved in."
Blackstone pointed to the school district's code of behavior, which states that police may be called for "offenses involving weapons, alcohol/drugs, intentional injury, and other serious violations."
Two school board members declined to comment on the case, and Blackstone would not make the Potomac View principal available for comment.
Mary Kay Sommers, president of the National Association of Elementary School Principals, said suspensions and calls to the police in such cases are overkill. The correct response, she said, would be to explore whether the behavior is linked to abuse and to teach students about respecting peers and what constitutes "good touch" or "bad touch."
"There's no way these children understand what's going on. But it's been taken out of our hands. That's the difficult moral dilemma that we face," Sommers said. She blamed two Supreme Court decisions from the 1990s that enable suits against school districts for failing to stop sexual harassment as well as zero-tolerance policies aimed at middle and high school students that are applied to students as young as 5.
"We need to make sure that we follow the letter of the law, so being reasonable sometimes gets lost," she said.
But Ronald Stephens, executive director of the National School Safety Center, said educators do have some leeway: "Zero tolerance does not mean zero good judgment."
Branded a 'bad boy'?
Since November, Randy has been calling himself a "bad boy," his mother said.
Castro said school officials rejected her appeal to remove the sexual harassment incident from Randy's permanent file. And now she worries that they have branded him a troublemaker.
She points to an incident in January when Randy was suspended for three days for verbal "harassment" and inappropriate behavior. According to the principals incident report, as Randy walked home from school, he told two girls to kiss and asked another student, "Are you gay?" and "Why are you wearing girl's boots?"
Randy and his siblings, who were walking with him that day, dispute the account. They said he teased an older boy and girl about kissing. He said if the boy didn't kiss the girl, it meant he was gay. Randy said he learned the word on TV.
School officials, citing confidentiality, declined to comment on the incident.
Castro agreed that Randy's behavior was inappropriate but worried that he is being too severely scrutinized because of the spanking incident. "My feeling is that they are picking on him," she said.
Castro said she met again with school officials and asked why, if they were concerned about Randy, he wasn't in counseling. "The counselor told me he didn't need it," she said.