Saturday, April 12, 2008

SD - Rapid City woman gets 90 days in jail for sexual contact with teen

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A man would have got a larger sentence. What kind of message does this send to the public? If you are a women, you can get by with having sex with someone who is underage, that is what I see.

04/12/2008

A Rapid City woman was sentenced Friday to probation and 90 days in the Pennington County Jail for having sexual contact with a 15-year-old boy.

Seventh Circuit Judge A.P. "Pete" Fuller sentenced 47-year-old Michelle Alexander to 180 days in jail, with 90 days suspended. She will receive credit for two days already served.

Alexander also was sentenced to 15 years in the state penitentiary, which will be suspended as long as she meets the requirements of her probation.

She will be on probation for 10 years. But Fuller told her that is subject to change, depending on her behavior.

"You are going to be in charge of how long you are on probation," he said.

Alexander pleaded guilty in December to having sexual contact with a person younger than 16. That charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in the penitentiary and a $30,000 fine.

Alexander originally faced an additional count of fourth-degree rape, which was dropped in exchange for her guilty plea.

The incident occurred between January and August of 2006.

As part of her sentence, Alexander must register as a sex offender.

Her probation dictates that she cannot drink or use controlled drugs or substances and must enter into the 24/7 program. She must also complete a drug and alcohol evaluation and a psycho-sexual evaluation.

Another stipulation of Alexander's sentence is that she cannot have unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18, other than her children and people at her workplace.

Contact Ryan Woodard at 394-8412 or ryan.woodard@rapidcityjournal.com


IN - Former Jail Matron Convicted Of Sexual Misconduct

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04/12/2008

Jury Reaches Decision After Two-Hour Deliberation

BEDFORD -- A former jail matron has been convicted of sexual misconduct for allegedly having sexual relations with an inmate at the Lawrence County Jail.

A Lawrence County jury found Shauna Hawkins, 33, guilty of sexual misconduct by a service provider on Thursday night after deliberating for about two hours

Defense attorney Stephen Oliver said Hawkins had no comment on the verdict.

"We're disappointed, not happy," Oliver said. "We'll see where it goes from here."

Lawrence County Prosecutor Michelle Woodward said the Hawkins could remain free on the initial bond until her sentencing hearing, the date of which has not been set.

Woodward said the case was difficult because it involved a sex crime with a witness who is a jailed inmate. That resulted in the testimony from both jail officers and inmates.

In closing arguments, Woodward recapped the witnesses' testimony and said it proved that Hawkins twice performed oral sex on inmate Kevin Edwards.

Earlier Thursday, Edwards testified that Hawkins had performed oral sex on him twice and that the couple had fondled each other repeatedly in 2006 when he was held at the Lawrence County Jail.

He is currently in the jail on probation revocation for false informing.

Hawkins served as jail matron for her father-in-law, former Sheriff Kent Hawkins. She became matron in 2006 after her mother-in-law and former jail matron, Sandy Hawkins, died.

On Feb. 9, Kent Hawkins pleaded guilty to unrelated felony charges of forgery and official misconduct. He will be sentenced May 9.


TX - State of Texas to Make Info Easier on Sex Offenders

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04/12/2008

The Texas Department of Public Safety Sex Offender Registry, will now make it easier for you to know more about sex offenders where-a-bouts.

The registry currently lists where they live, their age, gender, weight, height, shoe size and sex crime they committed. DPS will now step it up a notch, by revealing where these sex offenders work and their job title.

Cameron County's Sex Offender Unit Supervisor, Angie Saenz says, the updated website info, will be extremely beneficial to the public especially employers. Saenz says, this new on line tool, will make it more difficult for these sex offenders to hold down a job, because employers, wouldn't want their businesses to be affected.

DPS says, this new on line feature is expected to show up in several months.


Muslim sex offenders could opt out of treatment programme 'because it's against their faith'

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04/08/2008

Muslim sex offenders are asking to be let off a prison treatment programme on religious grounds.

Rapists, paedophiles and other dangerous attackers are expected to discuss their crimes with other inmates as a condition of release.

But Muslim prisoners complain that criminals should not have to talk about their offences - a "legitimate Islamic position", according to Ahtsham Ali, the Prison Service's Muslim adviser.

One thousand inmates were put on the Sex Offender Treatment Programme last year with places usually reserved for the most dangerous attackers.

Failure to complete the course can weigh against an offender at parole hearings.

The possibility of an exemption for Muslims came to light in a letter from an unnamed inmate to Inside Time, a newspaper for prisoners.

The convict said: "I have always insisted that it was against Islamic teachings to discuss your offence to anyone, let alone act it out within a peer group."

Experts said ministers, who have launched a review of the issue, could face a legal challenge from Muslims kept longer in prison because they had not undergone the treatment programme.

Harry Fletcher, of the probation union Napo, said: "If they do not take part, Muslim sex offenders are likely to serve longer sentences, possibly the whole of their term, before they are released."

Nick Herbert, Tory justice spokesman, said: "There can be no religious discrimination when it comes to deciding the appropriate and safe time to release a prisoner.

"In any case, all prisoners, regardless of religion, should have their release made conditional on their behaviour and progress in custody, not be given automatic release at the half-way mark."

A Prison Service spokesman said officials were seeking to ensure the treatment programme was sensitive to "the diversity of religions within the prison context".

"Membership of a particular religion is not a bar to participation in accredited programmes," she insisted, adding that offenders were carefully vetted to ensure they were suitable candidates for the course.


NC - Deputies say brothers beat accused sex offender

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04/12/2008

CARTHAGE — A man accused of having sex with a 14-year-old girl was beaten by the girl’s two brothers, a Moore County sheriff’s deputy said.

The man, Paulino Vasquez Hernandez, 22, of the 100 block of Shady Acres in Candor, was caught by the brothers as he left the girl’s home, Capt. Jeff Medlin said.

“It was one of those situations where they were trying to detain him,” Medlin said.

Hernandez was treated for his injuries, which Medlin said are not life threatening.

In his mugshot, Hernandez had a black eye and other facial injuries. No one has been charged in his beating.

Hernandez was charged Wednesday with statutory rape and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Bail was set at $75,000.


NY - Beth Modica pleads guilty in sex with teens, ordered jailed

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04/11/2008

By Steve Lieberman

NEW CITY - Former prosecutor Beth Modica pleaded guilty today to two felony charges that she had sex with two teenagers during the summer.

Modica, 44, a Sloatsburg mother of four, faces two years in state prison when sentenced on June 13.

She was remanded to jail pending sentencing following today's hearing in state Supreme Court before Justice Catherine Bartlett.

After weeks of delay, Modica pleaded guilty to third-degree rape and third-degree criminal sex act. The rape charge covers having intercourse with a 15-year-old boy and the other felony involves giving oral sex to a 16-year-old boy. Both incidents occurred at her Sloatsburg home in July.

Modica also faces 10 years post-prison supervision and she must register as a sex offender. She also will be disbarred as a lawyer.

Modica admitted under questioning by Dominic Crispino, supervising assistant district attorney, to having intercourse with a then-15-year-old boy in her bedroom and having oral sex with a 16-year-old boy in her bathroom between July 20 and 22.

Although she had been charged with providing marijuana and beer to the boys and five others, she did not plead to the charge of endangering the welfare of a child.

Modica's attorney, Gerard Damiani of New City, requested a pre-sentence conference with Bartlett on June 4 and asked that the judge consider alternatives to prison.

Damiani has told the court that other people convicted of similar non-violent offenses have been sentenced from probation to a year in jail, citing about 15 cases in a memo to the judge.

In addition to Modica's mother and brother, her husband, Paul, was in the courtroom. Paul Modica, the Spring Valley police chief, sat on the other side of the courtroom from Modica's mother and brother, with his hands clenched in his lap.


IA - Iowa Supreme Court rules all sex offenders covered under 2,000 foot living restrictions

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04/11/2008

By Darwin Danielson

The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled against a Des Moines man in a case challenging the state's law restricting where sex offenders can live. Floyd Wright was convicted of statutory rape in 1977 and completed his jail time for the offense.

When the building Wright lived in was sold and he was forced to move, he chose a new place, but his parole officer said his status as a sex offender prohibited him from moving to the new location because it was within 2,000 feet of a facility protected under the state's sex offender law.

Wright filed suit arguing the living restrictions didn't apply to him as he was never required to register as a sex offender since his statutory rape conviction happened before the sex offender registry law took effect in 1995. Wright also argued the 2,000 foot law violated his constitutional rights to find a reasonable place to live.

The district court ruled against Wright, saying the language of the law unambiguously applied to all sex offenders, not just those who were registered. And the district court rejected Wright's constitutional challenges, based on a previous Supreme Court case on that issue.

The Iowa Supreme Court upheld the district court's ruling, saying the Iowa Legislature clearly intended the sex offender provisions to include all sex offenders, not just those who were registered. The High Court also rejected Wright's arguments that his constitutional rights were violated by the law, saying while Des Moines and communities around the city impose residency restrictions on sex offenders, Wright is still free to engage in most community activities and free to live in areas not covered by the residency restrictions.


NJ - Vernon approves sex offender restrictions

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04/11/2008

By STEPHEN J. NOVAK (snovak@njherald.com)

VERNON — Despite the concerns of some council members, Vernon Township became the eighth municipality in Sussex County to enact a sex offender residency ban, preventing anyone who committed a sexual offense with a minor from moving within almost half a mile from certain public areas.

"There's no greater responsibility of an elected official, or a government, than the health and welfare of its citizens — especially children," said Councilman Neil Desmond.

Desmond, with the help of the township's legal counsel, persuaded his peers that the ordinance should be enacted as soon as possible, overcoming concerns of legal challenges of the ordinance's constitutionality.

"I support this law at face value," said Councilman Richard Carson, "but I would like to see this more tightly structured from all angles to avoid liability."

Mayor Austin Carew said he would like to see reports from the Vernon Police Department that could outline how such an ordinance would be enforced. Newly sworn-in Councilwoman Valerie Seufert said it could also help to get businesses and the local Chamber of Commerce involved by outlining ways to screen new hires.

The council was assured by its attorney that amendments could be made to the ordinance as necessary.

"I see no harm in moving this forward tonight," Desmond said. "Every day this is not on the books is a day people are at risk."

Concerns of constitutionality have come up in many of the municipalities that have discussed such ordinances and similar laws have been challenged around the state. But Vernon's ordinance closely mirrors that approved by several other local governments in that it allows any existing residents to retain their homes.

The New Jersey State Police Sex Offender Internet Registry did not list any moderate- or high-risk sex offenders currently registered in Vernon. The Web site does not list offenders deemed to be at a low risk of a re-offense.

Anyone with a sexual crime record against a victim under the age of 18 who wishes to move into Vernon will not be allowed to reside within 2,500 feet of public or private schools, day care centers, libraries, convenience stores, local or state parks or "any commercial recreational facilities frequented by young people, including theaters, bowling alleys, sports fields, exercise or sporting facilities."

Five other Sussex County municipalities have enacted bans of either 1,000 or 2,500 feet around public places. Newton and Montague have enacted townwide bans.